Prizzis HonourThis evening we watched a golden oldie, John Huston’s 1985 penultimate film, Prizzi’s Honour, in which his daughter, Anjelica, won an Oscar for best supporting actress. Jack Nicholson’s eyebrows play Charley Partanna, a contract killer and heir apparent to Brooklyn-based mafia family, the Prizzis. The (and his) padrino, Corrado, sends him East to ‘clip’ a gangster who has stolen from a Prizzi antennae operation in Las Vegas. Spurning the advances of his longtime sweetheart, Maerose Prizzi (played by Anjelica), Charley inadvertently falls in love with a fellow, West coast-based, contract killer, Irene (played by Kathleen Turner), whose true calling and role in the Las Vegas heist is only gradually revealed to him. He decides to marry rather than kill her and, at first, there is honour, as well as love, among thieves. But a kidnap operation for the Prizzis goes wrong and Irene shoots a cop’s wife, bringing unwanted complications to the Prizzi family’s operations. Charley and Irene hide away their kidnap victim (a banker) to extort a deal from the Prizzis and buy Irene’s protection. Meanwhile, Maerose goads her father, Dominic, Charley’s jealous rival within the Prizzi clan, into putting out a contract on Charley, and the killer he contacts is … Irene. The padrino has already decided that his godson, Charley, rather than his son, Dominic, should become the Boss. When another Family kills Dominic, the padrino accelerates his plans, which means Charley must come back into the fold, let the banker go and kill Irene. Hence the film’s central twist: two contract killers simultaneously in love with each other and with contracts to kill one another. Since the Family always comes first, there can only be one winner: Maerose!