(Some spoilers) While this film is based on events of Italian history and the battle by Piedmontese troops against the Neapolitan forces of King Francesco II , if you change the names, it plays both as a U.S. Civil War drama or a western about U.S. Cavalry vs. Indians.
Santo Carbone, in Calabria in 1860, is a guerrilla-bandit who has captured Colonel Breviglieri of the Piedmontese army that is seeking to incorporate southern Italy into unified nation. Later he assists the Bourbon troops of Francesco as a colonel in that army. Carbone is played by Ernest Borgnine, dubbed into Italian here, and looking very "Wild Bunchy" in his demeanor. Katy Jurado plays his wife Assunta Carbone. A libidinous bandit called 'O Caporale becomes Santo's assistant...when he is not carrying on with Mariangela, played by the lovely Rosanna Schiaffino. 'O Caporale is played by Vittorio Gassman as a saucy comic type speaking in his Neapolitan dialect, which seems alien to Gassman's mouth.
The battles are many; the pace of the screen excitement never lags. In the end the bandit-heroes are captured by the Piedmontese. Carbone is killed by one of the land barons of the region who probably doesn't want the man's influence to continue among his captors. In short this is an engaging adventure yarn, of no special depth or conviction, that would have played well with general audiences. Director Mario Camerini had a career going back to the Italian silent era and this is neither his best nor his worst work. The movie did not have any kind of commercial release in the United States but was shown on television as "The Italian Brigands" in an English-language version which, I believe, used Borgnine and Jurado's own voices.
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