So-so ¨Sword and Sandals¨ movie co-produced by Italy/Spain and shot in Madrid surroundings
A truly thunderous Peplum with agreeable ensemble cast as well as stirring action . IV Century , B.C. , Athens has fallen under the powerful Sparta and terror expands along Middle East . Macedonians rule over Sidon , in modern day Lebanon , and there governs the ruthless Rabirio . Some patriots hidden in shelters located in the mountains fight for their freedom . Leslio (Tony Russel) enlists a group of prisoners (Renato Baldini , Livio Lorenzon , Barta Barri , José Marco , and the bouncing Cris Huerta) to carry out his plans , and thanks to a great amount of money , he frees them . They getting their freedom from prison , and then help Leslio to get freedom his brother Axel . Meanwhile , Axel (Massimo Serato) is imprisoned by the Macedonians led by the tyrant despot Rabirio (Gérard Tichy) . The magnificent seven attack the detachment and the fortress where is imprisoned Axel . Thanks his courage Axel escapes and joins forces with the Magnificent seven , he unites his six rebel to rid itself of the scourge , to fight the patrician ruler . Seven rebels are faced at every turn by enemy army and they assault tax collectors who brutally invade villages under the pretext of collecting taxes . Later on , the brave group robs a valuable treasure and throw it from a tower . Soon after , in the enemy court Leslio posing as an architect and he falls in love again with his former sweet-girl named Lydia (Helga Liné as the old flame) and then must rescue her from slavery and death .
Peplum or ¨Sword and Sandals¨ remake to Akira Kurosawa's classic ¨The seven samurais¨ and John Sturges's ¨The magnificent seven ¨ , it's an adventure film with all the ingredients as action , suspense , comedy , amusement and typical confrontation between good guys and bad guys . The picture allows for periods of humor and calm in which to establish characters punctuated by viscerally exciting bursts of action . It contains fights , sword-play , adventures and some touches of light humor . It culminates in the spectacular climatic battle between the Spartans and the enemies with horse stampedes included . This is a B-film that was released in several countries in doublé programmes , as the UK as a double bill with The Devil-Ship pirates (1964) . Ample support cast with most of the actors are relative unknowns and formed by muscle-men and regular Spanish/Italian players from Western and Peplum , such as : Tomás Blanco , Massimo Serato , Pedro Mari Sánchez , Jose Marco , Chris Huerta , Renato Baldini , and Gerad Tichy as malicious ruler , among others . As comic relief appears Bernabe Barta Barry , a sympathetic secondary playing a corpulent man who uses a boomerang and Livio Lorenzon who invents a Gatling-gun-type weapon that fires arrows . Good production values with breathtaking final battle full of extras and horses , and matte-painting , nice maquettes and scale model by Emilio Ruiz Del Rio . It's shot in the area round Madrid , Manzanares Del Real , Colmenar Viejo and La Pedriza where in the 60s were filmed several epic movies as ¨El Cid¨ , as well as lots of Westerns and being a Spanish/ Italian co-production , efficiently financed by Italo Zingarelli . It packs atmospheric score by Carlo Franci with catching musical leitmotif . Evocative and colorful and cinematography by Eloy Mella .
The motion picture produced by Chamartín Studios was regularly directed by Alberto De Martino . He managed to make a fluid and filled with thrills , duels , attacks , and shots , though average . He was an Italian craftsman , working from the 60s in all kind of genres and B movies . As he directed Peplum (Secret seven , Spartan gladiators , Invincible gladiator , Valley of stone men) , Spaghetti Western (Django shoots first , Providence , Charge of seven cavalry) , Warlike (Dirty heroes) , European spy genre (OK Connery , Operation Lady Chaplin) , and Terror (Miami Golem , Tempter , Horror , Holocaust 2000) , among others . Rating : 5.5/10 acceptable and passable , though sometimes embarrassing . If you like Peplum sub-genre , this one remains lightly watchable .
This flick belongs to a cycle of films starred by seven heroes whose main hit was ¨I Sette Gladiatori¨ or ¨Gladiator 7¨ by Pedro Lazaga with Richard Harrison , Livio Lorenzon , Tony Zamperla , Joe Marco , Enrique Avila , Barta Barry , Antonio Molino Rojo , Gerard Tichy , this film bears remarkable resemblance to ¨Gli Invincibili Sette" or "The Secret Seven" or "Los Siete Invencibles¨. It's followed by other films in similar style such as the ¨The ten gladiators¨ trilogy formed by ¨I dice gladiatori (1963) by Gianfranco Parolini with Roger Browne , Jose Greci and Dan Vadis and followed by ¨Spartacus and ten gladiators¨ and the third outing titled ¨Triumph of ten gladiators¨ or ¨Il Trionfo Dieci Gladiators ¨ again by Nick Nostro .
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