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The Avenger of Venice (1964)

Il ponte dei sospiri (original title)
Rolando, who was close to marrying the daughter of the Doge, is condemned after a highly unfair judicial process and locked up in Venice. Digging a tunnel with the aid of his cellmate, Rolando succeeds to escape.

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Burt Nelson ...
Conrado San Martín ...
Vira Silenti ...
José Marco Davó ...
José Nieto ...
Perla Cristal ...
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Paolo Gozlino ...
Capitano Lorenzi
Nino Persello
Andrea Bosic
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Nello Pazzafini
Bruno Scipioni
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Rolando, who was close to marrying the daughter of the Doge, is condemned after a highly unfair judicial process and locked up in Venice. Digging a tunnel with the aid of his cellmate, Rolando succeeds to escape.

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16 March 1964 (Italy)  »

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The Avenger of Venice  »

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2.35 : 1
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Version of Il ponte dei sospiri (1940) See more »

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User Reviews

 
THE AVENGER OF VENICE (Carlo Campogalliani and Piero Pierotti, 1964) ***
16 April 2011 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

This was one of the biggest surprises in my ongoing Epic Easter marathon so far, being among the most obscure titles I have watched: in fact, I had never heard of it before an American fanatic of such fare asked me about the film and which I was subsequently able to acquire for his sake! As it turned out, the result is even better than star Brett Halsey's more popular (and recently-viewed) THE MAGNIFICENT ADVENTURER (1963); it also happened to be the swan-song for both co-director Campogalliani and leading lady Gianna Maria Canale (her looks having begun to fade 10 years on from THEODORA, SLAVE EMPRESS and which I actually watched a day previously).

Anyway, this is a thoroughly engaging (and sumptuous-looking) MONTE CRISTO-ish costumer, with the expected frame-up/escape/revenge plot involving numerous high-ranking villains; still, the hero himself is the son of the Doge of Venice, accused of murder (a charge cemented by the testimony of blackmailed courtesan Canale) and imprisoned when his father determines to abolish piracy (an act which, having consistently filled the city's coffers, is condoned by a number of unscrupulous bureaucrats). One of these is the eventual suitor to Halsey's former fiancée' whom, unbeknownst to the latter, she was forced to oblige for his own sake (but which obviously incurs his hatred, ditto for ex-lover Canale's supposed betrayal – following threats to her teenage daughter).

With respect to the latter subplot, we get an unexpected whiff of paedophelia – but, to counter this, there is a welcome element of black comedy, as Halsey's strongman acolyte repeatedly roughs up vital witnesses that can restore the name of the hero's family (the Doge himself is rather cruelly blinded by a spiked iron mask, another nod to Alexandre Dumas but also to Mario Bava's BLACK Sunday {1960}!) who, invariably, end up dead! The latter is played by one Burt Nelson – whose life the protagonist had spared at the start after an ambush, ends up in his neighboring cell when digging towards freedom (ingeniously, Halsey contrives to have his tunneling unhindered by pretending to be crazy and, thus, ostensibly left to rot by the prison wardens!), eventually breaks jail with, and is cared for by him when feverish. Following several adventures, exchanged loyalties and re-instated officials, we are treated to a showdown between hero (displaying rather too much enthusiasm with a sword in hand for one who has lived through several hardships!) and chief villain – their earlier duel at a fencing class having been left solely to our imagination – set in an eerily-deserted Piazza San Marco.

For the record, rather than this (whose Italian title – translating to THE BRIDGE OF SIGHS – is a reference to nothing in particular!), I had originally intended watching Vittorio Cottafavi's MESSALINA, IMPERIAL VENUS (1960) but gave up on it due to a poor-quality and subtitled copy (I hope to acquire a superior edition in the near-future); however, I still ended up with a film co-scripted by future director Duccio Tessari and composed by A.F. Lavagnino (whose work here is quite impressive)! In complete contrast, though I have been unable to discover the source and in spite of some unnatural transitions between scenes, this was one incredibly good-looking print to exist for a movie this unknown!


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