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Long-delayed film to premiere Saturday

| Friday, March 15, 2013, 12:41 a.m.
Chuck Corby is held up in key scene of 'The Mob Boss and the Soul Singer' while Quiet Storm members Tom DeJohn and Walt Laughlin look on.
Wrestling legend Bruno Sammartino works through a scene with singer Chuck Corby in 'The Mob Boss and the Soul Singer.' Guess who's in which role.

A movie stuck in limbo for more than 10 years is set to premiere this weekend.

“The Mob Boss and the Soul Singer” will be released on Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Hollywood Theatre, 1449 Potomac Ave., Dormont.

It features Clairton vocalist Chuck Corby, actress Debbie Rochon and professional wrestling icon Bruno Sammartino.

Tickets are $10 and available at the door.

The movie was filmed in Clairton, the South Side, the Butler area and near Pittsburgh International Airport in 2002.

Written and directed by John Russo, co-creator of “Night of the Living Dead,” the film's debut was delayed due to issues with acquiring music rights. Russo said those issues also hindered finding a movie distributor. He said the problems were resolved within the past few months.

R Squared Films, a Nevada-based independent film distribution company, is presenting the film.

It's based on Corby's beginnings with his band the Quiet Storm, and the highs and lows of the music industry.

“Most of the scenes in this movie are things that actually happened in my life,” Corby said.

Sammartino plays Giuseppe “Flat” Donato, a mob boss who owns a club in which Corby and the band play.

Corby's gambling problem gets the better of him, and he owes the boss money. Donato takes what Corby owes out of the band's pay, and the band robs Donato of half a million dollars. A hit is put out on Corby and the band, and more criminal activities ensue.

“I had a son in the movie who somehow betrayed my trust,” Sammartino said. “I had just had major back surgery, and like three days later they contacted me about this role. When the script came, I literally took it on the set. I would read my part just before I did it because I never had (any time). This had been years now.”

Sammartino said he enjoyed working on the movie.

“We were real happy when they said it was going to be Bruno (playing the mob boss),” Corby said. “(He's) one of the nicest guys I ever worked with in this business ... I think we're going to get a great response. We had a lot of ticket sales. A lot of people are excited. I'm excited about it finally making it to the big screen.

“You'd be surprised who ends up with the money and who ends up dead.”

Saturday's premiere is a tribute to Armand Martin Sr., a former Clairton police officer, district judge and Quiet Storm bass singer.

Martin died in November 2007 of complications from non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

He has a significant role in the film. He also got to work with his son Armand A. Martin, who plays a courtroom bailiff.

“I'm thankful I can see him in videos,” the son said. “It brings back memories. It'll also be sad because it's tough not having him around. He's my role model. He's my best friend. It was fun (to be in the movie) because I grew up listening to the oldies with my father. I knew a lot about it and (my father) was excited about it. It was enjoyable to be able to go through that with him.”

“It means everything to me,” Corby said about Martin's tribute. “He and I were like brothers. All of the guys in the group, we still miss him today. Sometimes we even bring his jacket and put it on stage like he's still there. He actually rejuvenated our recording career. He means a whole lot to us.”

Martin joined the Quiet Storm about 19 years ago.

Attendees at Saturday's premier will be able to meet some of the stars following the screening. More information is available at www.chuckcorby.com.

Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or mdivittorio@tribweb.com.

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