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No comment on this title!What a shame!Italian cine buffs,wake up!There was not only Fellini or Antonioni in 1962!The same way the Nouvelle Vague pushed good works out of their way in France,the Italian highbrows overlooked what was not "intellectual" or "Cinema D'Auteur".
"Sette Spade" has everything popular cinema ,in the noblest sense of the term ,demands,and even more.Never a dull moment,humor,heroes and villains ,love interest,and most of all a splendid screenplay.
"Sette Spade" is primarily a swashbuckler ,but,while it fills its quota of duels and treason ,it has other more interesting sides:the scene when Isabella and Carlos sleep in the inn is pure American comedy;the hooded conspirators meeting seems to come from the adventures of Tintin, "Les Cigares Du Pharaon";some unexpected twists can rival with the best of today's scripts;sometimes the movie verges on the fantasy and horror genre when a man is thrown into a pit full of ....piranhas !(these gentle fishes rarely eat men,mind you,but ,one has to guess they are very very hungry!)
But the best is yet to come!A cardinal wrote a boring stodgy drama called "A Christian heart's temptation" (sic)nobody would ever think of showing.But the villain's ominous plan needs this play to capture the king -with a little help from the king of France's henchmen-.So the court has to sit thru this interminable lesson in catholic moral.And the happy end is not really one for ,as their coach is moving away,the holy man begins to tell the bored king more about his work,because the show was brutally interrupted.
This side of the movie,almost Bunuelesque ,was not fine with the French Catholic Office Of Cinema which had some of these hilarious moments cut from the version released in France.The running time of the film recently screened on satellite TV indicates that these scenes are present again! As they are some of the funniest I have ever seen in a swashbuckler,it would have been a pity to do without them.
And if it were not enough,there's also an unusually inventive use of color (which is not surprising,coming from Riccardo Freda ,one of the masters of the horror genre in Italy),notably in the scenes in the chamber of tortures with giant "instruments" ,which,while they are not used,suggest the prisoners have really a bad time in this nice place .
It is a actually a remake of an old movie made by Freda himself ,his first effort with Gino Cervi ("Don Cesare Di Bazan",1942).The hero was replaced by a dashing American actor,Brett Halsey:the French audience might remember he played opposite pop singer Sheila in her doomed "Bang Bang".
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