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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
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