"Momo: The Sam Giancana Story," a documentary about the notorious Chicago mob boss of the 1960s, is the latest Memphis-connected feature film to earn a regular run in a Malco theater.
In the past, the locally owned Malco theater chain has supported area filmmakers by booking such features as Craig Brewer's car-thief romance "The Poor & Hungry," Mike McCarthy's science-fiction drama "Cigarette Girl" and Willy Bearden's postwar period piece "One Came Home," none of which had been picked up for national exhibition by movie distribution companies. "Momo" — which opens today for at least a week at the Ridgeway Four — may be the first documentary to benefit from Malco's faith in Mid-South movies.
Memphian Marie Pizano is an executive producer of the film, which was produced with the participation of two of Giancana's daughters, Bonnie and Francine, who speak out about their relationship with the man who was a successor to Al Capone as the boss of the Chicago Outfit from 1957 to 1966.
Because the daughters opened the family archives to the filmmakers, "Momo" contains home movie footage, photographs and other materials never before seen outside the family.
Frequently cited by theorists connecting the Chicago mob to such historical figures as John F. Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe and Fidel Castro, Giancana was murdered in 1975 his home in Oak Park, Ill. He was shot once in the back of the head, and six times in the face and the neck.
Pizano hopes to develop film projects here with producing partner Nicholas Celozzi, a Chicagoan who is Giancana's grand-nephew and a "Momo" producer. The film was directed by longtime Hollywood player Dimitri Logothetis (a producer of "Hardbodies 2").
The movie had its "red carpet" premiere Jan. 10 at the Malco Paradiso.