CAVALIER IN THE DEVIL'S CASTLE--above-average dubbed costumed adventure, but not in scope or in color
From the credits I can tell that this film was shot in widescreen and in color. The US print available from SWV, which is worth watching for fans of dubbed Euro historical costumed adventures, is pan and scan, and also in black and white. Made in 1959 and distributed to American TV in 1965 via Walter Manley enterprises (who handled many superb European and Japanese genre films), the US version titled CAVALIER IN THE DEVIL'S CASTLE hints at what an interesting film the color, scope version might be, wherever it is. An evil ruler (played nicely in an arrogant, patronizing manner by Massimo Serato) seizes and keeps imprisoned the benign ruler of a neighboring territory, then tries to entice the daughter of that ruler to marry him and unite the territory. Meanwhile, a "masked cavalier" is standing up to Serato and uniting the populace against him. It should be no secret to the viewer which member of Serato's court is the cavalier, but until the inevitable happy ending, there is some intrigue, humor, well-staged fights and fencing duels, and a steady pace that keeps the viewer engaged. Director Mario Casta's other films that have appeared in the US in dubbed versions are all of interest and not at all standard fare: THE BLACK PIRATE with Ricardo Montalban and Vincent Price; BUFFALO BILL, HERO OF THE FAR WEST with Gordon Scott; KERIM, SON OF THE SHEIK with Gordon Scott (see my review); THE CENTURIAN with Jacques Sernas and John Drew Barrymore (although in the pan and scan version available, Barrymore is often cut out of the frame!); and GLADIATOR OF ROME with Gordon Scott. Even in dubbed, cut versions, Casta's films seem like unique takes on established genres with interesting visuals, and they seem to be well-acted. Of course, seeing these films in anything resembling the original widescreen color un-dubbed versions (and with English subtitles)is not likely to happen in my lifetime, so the US television versions will have to do. Remember, a film such as this is only going to appeal to someone who's already seen 50 similar films and has a hunger for them. For the novice, try something like THE EXECUTIONER OF VENICE (w/ Lex Barker and Guy Madison) and see if the genre interests you.
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