BRENNUS, ENEMY OF ROME (Giacomo Gentilomo, 1963) **1/2
Although the cult Italian TV program "Fuori Orario" (which translates to "After Hours") shown every weekend during night-time is usually taken up by rare art-house stuff, occasionally it lowers its standards to include a tribute to the native journeymen which passed through the portals of Cinema throughout its 116-year history; one such contender was Giacomo Gentilomo and, after 2 satisfactory encounters with his mostly unknown work THE LAST OF THE VIKINGS and, just last week, GOLIATH AGAINST THE VAMPIRES (both 1961 and of the peplum variety) this is yet another above-average example in the same mould and which was released in the U.K. under the misleading title BATTLE OF THE SPARTANS.
Since the budget allocated to such pseudo-historical fare was typically on the low side, barbarian conqueror Brennus' marauding march on Rome is often economically depicted via battle montages with star Gordon Mitchell's scowling features superimposed over them! Following the willful exile to a peaceful retirement in the countryside of disillusioned Roman hero Massimo Serato (disgusted by the egotistical political machinations of self-serving Senators), it is left for the likes of leading man Tony Kendall (as one of a band of three brothers) to oppose Brennus; eventually, two of them (and Serato's own young adopted son) are killed which, naturally enough, paves the way for the banished legionnaire's return to (and fateful intervention in) the ultimate salvation of his beloved Rome.
The usual quota of tried-and-tested elements such as damsels-in-distress and duplicitous but ultimately ill-fated senators are to be found here as well but, frankly, the one single incident in the entire film that has remained with me a full 10 days since I saw it is the uproarious sequence of Mitchell 'invading' the heroine's tent and, after taking a sip from the first vessel he finds lying about, he enquires whether it is some rare wine due to the odd taste it has to which she nonchalantly informs him that what he just drank had been her new perfume!
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