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Accomplished Italian costume adventure deserves more attention.
The ADVENTURES OF SALVATOR ROSA covers almost the same ground as Fox's MARK OF ZORRO made suspiciously close after - masked avenger, shielded by his secret identity, duels with the oppressive governor on behalf of the poor and down trodden - not exactly a novel concept but there are further parallels.
In place of back lot California however, this one has real palaces and gardens with the set piece being our hero, "Il Formico"in his black outfit, interrupting the execution by firing squad, using his sword to fend off waves of uniformed guards round the fountains and sculptures where court painter Gino Cervi had been at work on his canvas only a moment before.
As with most of these Italian period movies, the costuming and decoration are the film's most striking elements but this one is unusually sure in its handling - offsetting the spectacle of the banners and richly dressed courtiers of the Viceroy's palace with unexpected black comedy - the bound executioner revealed, strung up by the waist on his mass hanging machine, the girl fanning herself with the signal flag. There is an underlying vein of sadism - the ingenue's shoulder already bared for the lash when our hero intervenes - which marks this off from the American product, making it recognizably the work of it's under exported director.
You've got to wonder who was asleep at the switch when this one missed acknowledgment. WW2 is a bad excuse.
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