The story takes place in the Italy of the late 13th century - it was extracted from a tale told in Dante's Inferno:
Count Ugolino has become a big power in Pisa. His enemies want to do away with him. In the woods that surround his castle, behind the bushes, there are men with their bows ready. He's being watched and every step he makes... whether he's inside or outside his castle, or visiting friends, they are waiting for the right moment to strike. And strike they do, but so far, chance and his skill in arms have protected him. And there's treachery too. The enemy could be nearer than he thinks. Unlike what happens in the Hollywood historical films, the story in "Il Conte Ugolino" has more depth and the characters are clearly delineated against their historical background.
"Il Conte Ugolino" was a film destined for the general public but no concessions were made to make the story "pleasant". It has a soap opera style, that is, the camera concentrates more on the characters, but the landscape (for example, the sun rays filtering through the trees, first as a warning, and later, as a picture of doom) also helps to shape the story. Beautifully shot in black and white, "Il Conte Ugolino" is an engrossing film.
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