(1963) Lex Barker, Guy Madison Alessanra Panaro, Mario Petri. It's Lex against Guy in this great epic set in the early 17th century. Lots of court intrigue and duplicity with Madison doing a fine job as an evil grand inquisitor. Written by
excellent Italian dubbed historical adventure with Lex Barker pitted against Guy Madison
If you do not like low-budget, early 60s dubbed Italian costumed historical adventures, you won't like this one either. However, for fans of the genre, THE EXECUTIONER OF VENICE is top-notch entertainment with nice Venetian settings, lots of court intrigue and duplicity, and two of the finest American expatriate actors in 60s eurocinema--Lex Barker as the hero, Sandrigo Bembo, adopted son of the Doge of Venice, and Guy Madison as the tracherous grand inquisitor, Rodrigo Zeno. Director Luigi Capuano specialized in this sort of adventure in the early 60s, working with Barker in 1960s TERROR OF THE RED MASK, and after this film, making four films with Guy Madison. Just prior to this one, he made two with Gordon Scott--MASK OF THE MUSKETEERS and LION OF ST. MARK--that I recommend to fans of the genre. No great analysis is needed of THE EXECUTIONER OF VENICE. It's just a well-mounted but economical historical swashbuckler and the only European film where Barker and Madison are paired as equals. Regrettably, this copy is pan & scan, so some dramatic scenes between Madison and Barker feature Madison talking to an offscreen presence and the interesting set design is not as easy to appreciate as it should be, but until someone releases this in widescreen, it's worth searching out. The climax and ending are quite satisfying, the supporting cast is memorable (Mario Petri as the executioner whose story is quite complex, and Feodor Chaliapin Jr. as the aging, infirm, but sympathetic Doge of Venice), and it's great to see Madison as a pure manipulative villian with no redeeming values or tragic backstory. Barker looks great and must have been complimented that the role he is playing is that of a man at least a decade younger than Barker himself!
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