Plot: What’s it about?
In The Godson, a gangster named Marco is assigned to oversee the activities within a brothel, which seems like a dream position. He is to watch the hookers and keep tabs on things, then make his reports and show the results to the mafia brass. But as Marco has a big ego and happens to be crime boss Leo Rocca’s godson, he tires of his low end position and despises having to work under Mr. Danielli, who runs the brothel’s operations. The ladder of success doesn’t work in the usual way in the mafia, so Marco looks for some chance to overtake Danielli’s position. His time comes when a hooker offers some inside information, in exchange for some protection for her younger sister, to keep her out of the business. The plan works and Marco makes it big, but will his ambition get the best of him and land him in hot water? Meanwhile in Below the Belt, a psychotic lowlife named Sammy wages a one man assault on those who oppose him. He manages a boxer, but finds himself muscled by a local mobster, which eats into his profits. And since Sammy doesn’t like to be pushed around or have his income garnished, he takes action. This includes taking out a contract on the mobster, but that might open more problems than it solves. Is Sammy staying ahead of the game with his actions, or is just one step away being put six feet under?
A double feature of mobster themed movies, this one has one American picture and one German import, so variety is ample. Aside from the gangster theme and the multitudes of naked women, these movies also share another connection, a most gorgeous one, in fact. Yes, that sex kitten Uschi Digart (Roxanna, The Black Gestapo) is front and center in both of these wild flicks and of course, he looks as hot as ever. But as I mentioned, the sex star Digart isn’t the sole flesh on showcase, as a wide assortment of ladies parade in the buff, including some cult movie regulars to please genre addicts. The other cast members aren’t too memorable, though sci/fi writer Harlan Ellison turns up in The Godson, which was unexpected, to say the least. As with most of the sex charged double features from Something Weird, this one isn’t worthwhile as art, but man, these are some wild, fun pictures. The emphasis in this pair of flicks is on naked women and cornball humor, a combination producer Harry Novak is steeped in. So you know if both have his seal of approval, then they’re loaded to the gills with both, although the cornball humor might not be as praised as the ample naked women. So if you’ve enjoyed the previous Something Weird releases of Novak’s sex comedies, then give The Godson & Below the Belt a chance.
Video: How does it look?
Both films are presented in full frame, which seems to be an acceptable presentation in both cases. I was pleased to find both transfers to be more than solid, though Below the Belt starts with battered title sequences. This clears up however, with most of the remaining scenes looking good, aside from light grain and debris. The Godson looks great in this edition though, with a very clean print that allows for a sharp, more refined visual presence. You won’t mistake it for a new picture, but either Something Weird found a superb source print or some cleanup work was done, as this movie looks terrific here. And when you consider the age & budget of these movies, that says a lot about the effort put into them for this release. I saw no serious problems with colors or contrast either, as all the elements seem in order for both of these movies, though as I said, The Godson has a better overall presentation.
Audio: How does it sound?
The audio in these films is mono and decent enough, but don’t expect much in terms of dynamic presence. The tracks seem pretty clean and show little age related wear, so there’s not much to complain about. I heard minimal hiss and harshness in either flick, which is good, as some of these older exploitation movies often sound poor. The music, sound effects, and dialogue all seem in order, though limited because of the mono format involved. The basic elements come through well however, which is what counts in the end.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Harry Novak recorded an audio commentary for The Godson, in which he joined by a number of other commentators. If you’ve heard any of Novak’s other sessions, you’ll know what to expect here and Novak is a candid & open as ever. He talks about the girls a lot, how good they look and how they were found, as selected production stories. This track is informative, but also turns out to be quite entertaining. This disc also includes theatrical trailers for both of the features, two bonus Uschi Digart short films (I, Uschi & Uschi Meets Dracula), a selection of exploitation still photos, and a gallery of Novak’s exploitation artwork.