Low budget historical saga, passes the time pleasantly.
I Normanni (a.k.a Attack of the Normans; The Normans; and Conquest of the Normans) is a Franco-Italian saga that has become a virtually lost movie since its release in 1962. Done on a relatively low budget, but enlivened by a busy plot and decent scenes, it is a passable slice of historical hokum from director Giuseppe Vari.
After decades of violent raids, the Normans have finally agreed to be at peace with the English and have begun to settle on British soil. Nobleman Olivier D'Anglon (Ettore Manni) becomes a great friend of the Norman settlers and falls in love with Svetania (Genevieve Grad), one of their youngest, prettiest women. However, the jealous and cruel Duke of Saxony (Cameron Mitchell) wants to overthrow the English king, so he has his soldiers disguise themselves as Normans in an ambush on the king and plants various clues which lead people into suspecting that D'anglon masterminded the attack. D'Anglon escapes a hanging and sets out to prove that he is not a traitor, aided by his Norman friends.
Coincidences and unlikelihoods come thick and fast, and a degree of forgiveness is needed from the viewer if they are to make it through the film without mumbling in disbelief. Also distracting (on the British version at least) is the rather weak dubbing. However, I Normanni has plenty of entertaining moments to compensate for its faults. It may be pretty forgettable stuff, but at least it moves at a good pace and provides a busy enough plot to occupy your mind. The quality of the performances varies from quite good (Mitchell, especially, in another villainous characterisation) to downright amateurish, but that just adds to the film's innocent charm.
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