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The Black Duke (1963)

Il duca nero (original title)
Not Rated | | Adventure, Drama, Romance | July 1964 (USA)
Cesar Borgia--a cardinal in the Catholic church, a confidant of the Pope and a member of one of the wealthiest and most powerful families in 16th-century Italy--must deal with a host of ... See full summary »

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(screenplay), (story) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Conrado San Martín ...
Maria Grazia Spina ...
Ginevra Cavalcanti
Franco Fantasia ...
Veniero
Gloria Milland ...
Dina De Santis ...
Lavinia Serpieri
Robert Dean ...
Nobleman
Gloria Osuna ...
Nino Persello ...
Tito Serpieri
Gianni Solaro ...
Captain Serpieri
Giovanni Vari ...
Commandant Morialdo
Silvio Bagolini ...
Serafino
Antonio Casagrande ...
Assassin
Alberto Cevenini
Lilly Darelli
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Storyline

Cesar Borgia--a cardinal in the Catholic church, a confidant of the Pope and a member of one of the wealthiest and most powerful families in 16th-century Italy--must deal with a host of political and personal crises. He is having problems with his mistress, and members of a secret society called The Black Carnation are out to assassinate him. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

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evil man | sword duel | siege | castle | See All (4) »

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All the Spectacle and Splendour of a violent, sinful era!


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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July 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Black Duke  »

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(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Cameron Mitchell is superb as Caesar Borgia, a classic!
19 August 2003 | by (south Texas USA) – See all my reviews

This review is of an old US television print entitled CAESAR BORGIA. This is a beautifully shot, well-written, and well-acted Italian historical biography of the legendary Caesar Borgia, a man who lived a short but eventful life, is said to have been one of the inspirations for Machiavelli's The Prince, and fought to unify Italy. Widely admired and widely disliked, Borgia is not an easy person to put a simple label on, and this excellent film presents him as a three-dimensional character, fascinating and complex. He utilizes power effectively and is a fierce warrior, but his enemies often show themselves to be motivated by selfish and cynical reasons. Cameron Mitchell, who is fortunately allowed to voice his own dialogue (which he does not in the English language versions of films such as Erik The Conqueror or Blood and Black Lace), turns in one of his best performances (and his is a career full of fine performances) as the Black Duke. The script requires a number of speeches, and the stage-trained Mr. Mitchell delivers each one as if performing a Shakespearean soliloquy. Borgia may be ruthless, but his humanity is well-captured by Mitchell, and his realization that he has few true friends leads the viewer to empathize with him. The film is well-paced, the various subplots (a secret society called The Black Carnation is out to assassinate Borgia; his sister Lucretia Borgia has a complex relationship with her brother and is a complex character herself;Borgia's romantic entanglements)well-integrated into the main story. Also, action fans will enjoy the many exciting fencing sequences. Director Pino Mercanti's film directly prior to this one was KNIGHT OF 100 FACES with Lex Barker, and after this he helmed GENTLEMEN OF THE NIGHT with Guy Madison, but THE BLACK DUKE/CAESAR BORGIA may well be his masterpiece. The film holds up very well today and should be revived today and given a DVD reissue. My copy was taped off a UHF TV station in the late 1980s. By the way, the ending of the film came as quite a surprise to me. Obviously, I know the "end" of the real historical character, but where the filmmakers chose to end the film and the "spin" they put on the character and that particular ending were quite powerful-- in fact, the ending helps to put the film in a special class beyond mere genre film. It's rare to get a three-dimensional view of a historical character in any film--to get one in an Italian costume drama is not often expected. Try to find this film if you can.


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