In 1500, Duke Cesare Borgia hopes to marry his sister (widowed by poison) to the heir apparent of Ferrara, which impedes his conquest of central Italy. On this delicate mission he sends Andrea Orsini, his sister's lover and nearly as unscrupulous as himself. En route, Orsini meets Camilla Verano, wife of the count of Citta' del Monte (Borgia's next intended conquest); and sentiment threatens to turn him against his deadly master, whom no one betrays twice... Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
First, allow me to say how wonderful it feels to know I am not living alone on a planet in another galaxy -- that this planet actually has people on it who share a common interest with me: The spin-off from Samuel Shellabarger's historical novels (please feel free to read my comments under "Captain from Castile").
Samuel Shellabarger wrote "Prince of Foxes" after he wrote "Captain from Castile," and was therefore a more seasoned and experienced writer whose plot and character development had improved -- hence the previous remarks about Tyrone Power's acting ability: He had more with which to work in his character of Orsini than he did in the role of Pedro de Vargas thanks to Shellabarger's improved skills as an author. Tyrone Power was always a better actor than anyone (especially 20th Century Fox) ever gave him credit for being.
Each time I view my video of "Prince of Foxes" (copied from American Movie Classics) I am, of course, enthralled and mesmerized by Orson Wells' role of Cesare Borgia. I am equally impressed with Everett Sloane as Belli. But whenever I see Sloane as Belli, I can only think of an opportunity missed and Sloane getting shafted out of a nomination for best supporting actor thanks to the screen writer, director, producer and studio high-pockets. Why? Because the character of Belli, in the book, is the most dynamic character I have ever read! His dynamism was only partially revealed in the movie. There are also characters in the book, pertinent to Belli's development and evolution, that never appeared in the movie. In both mediums, we are introduced to Belli as a hired assassin. By the end of the movie, Belli has change his allegiance three times, but in the book, we leave Belli as he has declared for the priesthood -- and this time, I think he was serious!
Everett Sloane is one of my favorite actors of all time. He was the perfect choice for the role of Belli, as much as Wells was the perfect choice for the role of Borgia. But Hollywood did it again: They missed seeing what was right in front of their eyes in Shellabarger's character of Belli.
I agree with almost everything that has been stated by previous respondents about this production. It is wonderful! I can't wait to view my video of it again! I don't think I will ever tire of it. It is truly magnificent! But I think this film should be reshot and Shellabarger's book followed religiously by the script. It would be a much better movie than even this beauty.
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