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WARRIORS FIVE (LA GUERRA CONTINUA) is a low-key Italian-made war-themed
drama that tackles the dilemma Italians found themselves in after they
overthrew Mussolini in September 1943. The country remained under Nazi
occupation while awaiting the arrival of Allied troops. This film focuses
a group of five Italian men released from a military prison, a girl they
pick up on their way, and an American soldier who seeks their help for a
mission to blow up a bridge. This motley crew of characters meanders
the countryside, doing their best to avoid Germans, until they wind up
taking a stand at a town where the Germans have taken all able-bodied men
hostage and begin to kill them until the town turns over any Americans
It's not the most exciting or tightly plotted of war films but it does offer an engaging cast and a number of memorable scenes. One particularly suspenseful sequence has two of the Italian men crawling bravely but carefully through a minefield to retrieve supplies and weapons from parachuted drops and dead American paratroopers (killed by the mines).
Interestingly, the film was released in the U.S., dubbed in English, by American International Pictures, a company whose Italo imports at the time invariably consisted of sword 'n' sandal films of the Hercules, Goliath and gladiator variety. The only exploitable elements in the black-and-white film, aside from the World War II setting, were name actor Jack Palance, as the American G.I., and sexy Italian actress Giovanna Ralli as the good-time girl who joins the group, falls for one of the five, and even strips down to a black slip for a scene in which they all stop at a stream to cool off. (Palance and Ralli would reteam for an Italian western, THE MERCENARY, a few years later.) Also in the cast are stout Eurocult regular Folco Lulli and budding star Serge Reggiani, who would go on to become a fixture of French dramas in a few years.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
WARRIORS FIVE "La Guerra Contiua" 1962
This one is a real bottom of the barrel cheapie,it is set in Italy just after the Italian surrender to the Allies. Jack Palance is the headliner with support from Folco Lulli, Serge Reggiani, Venantino Ventitina, Franco Balducci and the beautiful, Giovanna Ralli.
Palance is an American paratrooper whose squad had been dropped behind the German lines to blow up a bridge. The squad, with the exception of Palance had the bad luck to land in a German minefield.
At the same time, five Italian military prisoners have escaped from their jailers. They hope to grab a train heading south. Then they want to cross over to the American side and get away from the war. They hook up with "working girl" Giovanna Ralli along the way. Their train ride is cut short after the Germans stop the train. They are looking for men who killed several Germans.
A bit of run and hide is needed for the group to escape from the clutches of the Germans. They meet up with Palance and are asked to help him complete his mission. The group soon agree, but they first need to retrieve the sabotage supplies from the minefield. This they do.
Now it is a rumble with the Germans to place the explosives etc. Then the group is roped in by a bunch of Italian villagers who need their help. It seems that the Germans have taken hostages and are planning on killing the lot the next morning.
Of course our brave band of men charge right in. There is a quick and bloody battle with several of the group being killed. They do however manage to free the hostages.
This is not a good film. The 83 minute runtime seems much longer with far too much dead time. The story takes forever to get to any sort of action. If it was not for the lovely Miss Ralli posing in various stages of undress, I would have stopped watching. Palance just goes through the motions here and looks bored with the whole thing.
The Italian film was made in 1960, but not released till 1962 when the American studio American-international purchased the film. They dubbed the film into English and put it out on the drive-in circuit.
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