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Even the mighty Shakespeare couldn't make good drama out of the story
of the Roman warrior Coriolanus. (Never mind that T.S. Eliot thought
the Bard's "Coriolanus" was superior to "Hamlet." Quick, how many lines
can you quote from "Coriolanus"?)
The historical background, in a nutshell: the newborn Roman Republic is imperiled by conflict within and without engaged in a desperate war with the neighboring Volsci, and riven by internal strife between the upper and lower classes (patricians and plebeians). Roman super-elitist Gaius Marcius becomes a war hero (hailed as Coriolanus for his heroism in taking the Volscian stronghold of Corioli), but when he enters politics, scheming plebeians bring him down. Forced into exile, the super-patriot becomes a super-traitor, joining the Volsci to march on Rome. Can an appeal from his mother and wife stop the warrior from destroying his home town?
It's great material, but the actual history is problematic, thanks to the thorny complexities of the patrician/plebeian conflict and to contradictions in Coriolanus's character (it's even uncertain whether he was patrician or plebeian, though his sympathies were decidedly with the former). Shakespeare couldn't make good drama out of the politics, and he couldn't make a compelling hero out of Coriolanus; neither can this movie, though it tries (mainly taking its cues from the Bard by villainizing the plebs.) At least Shakespeare realized that the story had to be a tragedy; this movie insists on a triumphant ending, which insults the history and the man.
It also doesn't help that the big action scenes are stolen straight from other sword and sandal movies; the contest of strength in the Volscian camp is footage from THE Trojan HORSE and the big battle scene was previously used in HANNIBAL starring Victor Mature.
On the plus side, Gordon Scott makes a terrific Coriolanus; he projects both the requisite vanity and charisma. The scene in which he goes electioneering, insulting the plebs even as he asks for their votes, is priceless. You never saw a stiffer candidate! Despite its flaws, the film is still worth watching for Scott fans and Roman history mavens, and perhaps for the Shakespeare completist as well.
Average storytelling about Corolianus about a screenplay written by
Remigio Del Grosso and no-based on Shakespeare play . This is a fairly
Sword and Sandals standard from the 60s . It's made middling scale with
some spectacular scenes and in Peplum style . Coroliano is a regular
sword and sandals movie with historical backstage , action , thrills ,
love , battles and great scenarios . It concerns about Republican Rome
, circa 493 b.c. , there Cayo Marcio (Gordon Scott) , later called
Coriolanus for his victory in Corioli , leads the plebeians in a revolt
against Roman oppression . The traitor tribune called Sicinio (Albert
Lupo) double-crosses the Roman Senate presided by consul Cominio
(Philippe Hersent) and a senior senator named Menenio Agripa (Nerio
Bernardi) ; as Sicinio betrays Rome and deals with the king of Volscos
called Aufidio (Pierre Cressoy) . Coriolano the most valiant warrior of
Rome to be aware the betrayal but is accused for murder and he is
banished and condemned to exile . After that , Coriolano , our hero ,
the mightiest of them all , to agree to king of Volscos and wages war
Coroliano is a middling Peplum , including feats , fights , political events , betrayal , wars and lovers . The action is regularly done and the story occasionally drags , however to be liked for hardcore Peplum lovers . This is a boring film with excessive dialogs but includes impressive battles , as thousands of extras take part and mostly are spectacularly staged ; however many scenes are taken from other films as ¨The war of Troy or Greek Horse ¨ , as there are abundant stock shots . The picture packs colorful cinematography Augusto Tiezzi and evocative musical score by Carlo Rustichelli . ¨Coroliano hero without country¨ was well starred by Gordon Scott who made lots of roman-epic-Italian films also called ¨Musclemen movies¨ or ¨Sword and sandals¨. Luck's Gordon Scott changed when Italian director Sergio Corbucci persuaded him to go overseas to star ¨Romulo and Remo¨ along with Steve Reeves and later on , he continued to play several others . Forest who played the mythic Maciste in great number of movies was randomly assigned the identity of Hercules , Goliath ,Samson or here Aron for U.S. viewing . Gordon was an American bouncing who emigrated Europe where starred several Tarzan movies , subsequently was to Italy and created a true star-system based on pumped-up heroes. Gordon Scott and specially Steve Reeves paved the way for others actors to seek their fame and fortune in Italy playing stocky adventurers . Other stars by the time on this type of movies are Mark Forest, Gordon Mitchell, Dan Vadis, Brad Harris, Ken Wood ; furthermore 'Gordon Scott' who made more important competence to Steve Reeves . Nobody, nevertheless, topped Steve Reeves and Gordon Scott in popularity . Gordon Scott played other epic characters : ¨ , ¨Gladiator of Rome¨ , ¨Hero of Rome¨ , ¨Hercules and Princess of Troy¨ , ¨Conquest of Micene¨ , though also made some Spaghetti as ¨The tramplers¨ and ¨Buffalo Bill ¨, Spy-genre as ¨Secretissimo¨and ¨Death ray¨ and of course his famous Tarzan movies as ¨Tarzan's greatest adventure¨, ¨Tarzan's Fight for Life¨ , ¨Tarzan and the hunters¨ and ¨Tarzan and the trappers ¨ , among others .
The flick was middlingly directed by Giorgo Ferroni , an expert on Peplum . As he directed ¨The war of Troy¨ with Steve Reeves ,¨Hercules against Molock¨ and ¨Il Colosso Di Roma¨ with Gordon Scott . He also directed Western as "Fort Yuma Gold" , "Blood for a Silver Dollar" , Wartime as ¨Battle of El Alamein¨ and Terror in acceptable results as ¨ Mill of the stone woman¨ and "Night of the Devils" .
"Coriolanus, Hero Without A Country" boasts former Tarzan, Gordon Scott, in
the titular role of a soldier and "Man of War", who, thanks to the
machinations of traitorous politicians within the Roman Senate, abandons
his post as a Roman defender and join forces with an opposing faction in
order to expose his (and Rome's) enemies.
Pic is far from the best example of Italian-made peplums, so popular in the early 60's. Although there are plenty of costumed extras employed to give battle scenes some sense of scale, the scenes detailing the plot-driven political intrigue plod along at a lethargic pace and are difficult to sit through.
Scott, a frequent star in these types of films, gets little opportunity to show off his physique (as he so often did, playing Goliath or Samson or Tarzan), herein confined to a Centurion's raiment throughout. The rest of the Italian cast is non-descript, with little but the familiar dubbing voices to listen for.
The most commonly available print, from Sinister Cinema, suffers from extremely faded color and poor contrast (AND WILL SOON BE DISCONTINUED FROM THEIR CATALOG)and should be avoided.
After the recent misfire that was HERCULES AGAINST MOLOCH (1963) - with
which it shares director Ferroni and co-stars Gordon Scott and Rosalba
Neri - I was actually surprised by this one: Scott, wooden though he
is, probably has his best such role here - and, at least, much like the
Steve Reeves of THE Trojan HORSE (1961; incidentally, also a Ferroni
film), he isn't required to be a he-man! The film also boasts an
above-average, albeit one-note, villain in Alberto Lupo. Unfortunately,
however, Neri was a lot better used as a villainess in HERCULES than as
Scott's dutiful wife here!
While the action and the spectacle is par for the course, to me, the most satisfying aspect of the film is its complex and thoroughly engaging plot - with Lupo conniving with the enemies of Rome behind its back and then conspiring to banish Scott...who eventually leads the enemy to march on Rome and rid it of Lupo's corrupt influence. Finally, it was refreshing to watch a film about the Roman Empire from a simpler era - serving as an antidote to the general unpleasantness and the unwarranted vulgarity of the ROME (2005) TV series...
Class war in Ancient Rome.
The plot of Marcus, renamed Coriolanus after a victory, switching sides to expose the evils of Rome's leaders, is a snooze fest. The first third is dull court intrigue. The middle third is great action, that will get your hopes up. Unfortunately the final third is worse than the first and will bore you to tears. As good as the middle is the ends kill it. This is a movie to make you pull your hair out because whats good is so good that you end up with no patience for the bad parts.
Making everything worse is the fact that the dubbing into English is terrible making the already iffy performances seem worse.
A void unless you need sleep, or can manage only to see the middle third.
Dulce et decorum est pro patria more indeed. Though I'm no Shakespeare
accolyte, I gather that this 'Peplum' probably sources its inspiration
from one of his lesser-known plays, that featured mostly domestic and
court intrigue with a bit of battle stuff thrown in. After all, his
business was intimate human tragedy contrasted against backdrops of
epochal social/historical significance, and the disparate and often
irreconcilable relationship between the two.
In terms of historical verisimilitude, the best you can hope for is Tarzan blending in with the wooden scenery very capably throughout a couple of budget-swallowing battle scenes and more than a fair helping of romantic longueurs. It must be said though that the odds have always been stacked against these sorts of affairs outside of their native Italy at the very first exportation hurdle - the English dubbing suite. This and others of its ilk would probably fare much more equitably when shown in widescreen format in their original tongue. Sadly, without vested American capital interest behind such prospective re-accreditation, that prospect fades farther into the cinematic never-never with each successive year.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
One the high points in this movie is the dialog. The dialog is both poorly written and poorly delivered, making it quite funny at times. I think who ever made this movie made some changes to what Shakespeare had originally written. The fight scenes were also amusing, most of the deaths were incredibly over the top and bodies would disappear and reappear as the camera angle changed. Not everything is great about the battle scenes however, I often didn't know who was winning, and there is no blood in the battles either. This movie overall is actually not very exploitive, just low budget. I would have rated this higher, but the movie is very slow paced and the plot makes little sense to someone who is not familiar with history or the source material. If you like Grindhouse flicks you could definitely do worse.
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