A specialist of the sword and sandal genre -"La Rivolta Dei Gladatiori" "Messalina Venere Imperatrice" "Le Legioni Di Cleopatra" :some say the latter is better than Mankiewicz's ;they must be blind- Vittorio Cottafavi ,who was a very educated man,never really made a movie which really showed it.
Take "I Cento Cavalieri" which is supposed to take place in the Middle Ages circa 1000 AD and which looks like a spaghetti western ,even the music !If it weren't for the Saracen warriors ,all dressed in blue ,we could think we're near the Mexican border .There's another problem: half of the movie is tongue in cheek stuff -" if the thieves took it ,it's not yours anymore and we are stealing it from thieves"- and the other half is "serious" involving the "torture of the well" and hangings galore.
For once,the director had a true actress,Antonella Lualdi ,who has worked in France with great directors (Autant-Lara ,Chabrol) instead of his usual starlets.But her part is so clichéd she can't do anything of it.
The director's ambitions show ,now and then:
"We hide the maimed,the legless cripples ,for fear they may frighten our young soldiers!"
Later on ,there's a long discussion about war and the ways to put an end to it: all this because of a ridiculous armor!
A Muslim on the steeple of the village church ,calling his faithful to prayer!
And the catholic priests cheering their soldiers ,as if they were watching a football game!
All this plus the beginning and the ending ,an artist painting a fresco, makes the movie watchable,but not particularly memorable.
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