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This seems to be one of the least-known peplum films, at least in the
US. I was happy to find an Italian DVD, cropped to 1.78:1 aspect ratio
instead of original 2.35:1, but with brilliant color and Italian
subtitles. Even with my very limited Italian, the plot was easy to
follow, and not just because peplum films follow simple formulas; this
movie really knows how to tell a story through purely visual means.
Dialogue is secondary to the action and emotion, which are compelling
in every scene
The opening scene is brilliant, as the last survivors of the Spartacus slave revolt overcome Roman guards by night and remove their crucified leader from a cross, hoping to rescue him and continue the resistance. When a Roman soldier (Browne) arrives back in Italy from service in Spain to find his family slaughtered by soldiers looking for a fugitive ringleaderin a scene very reminiscent of Russell Crowe's homecoming in GLADIATOR (I'm beginning to think Ridley Scott watched every peplum film ever made before he started work on his own)the plot is off and running.
The giddy mix of over-the-top action and wrenching melodrama in this movie is pure Italian 1960s film-making, dreamlike and larger than life, with amazing close-ups of Gordon Mitchell (leader of the resistance) and the breathtaking Scilla Gabel. Special kudos to a stirring music score by Francesco de Masi.
If you love peplum movies, this one is worth seeking out.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Here is another excellent example of Italian movie-rubbish. This is yet another sword and sandal hokum on the same lines of "Gli Schiavi piu' forti del Mondo". Surprisingly enough (please not the sarcasm) it presents the same actors (the word 'stars' in this case is thoroughly inadequate). The plot is somewhat scarce - nothing surprising seeing that Spartacus ended up dead in the movie featuring Kirk Douglas. Coming to actors if Gordon Mitchell (or anyone for that matter) thinks that he can take the part of Douglas he may give up. Well that's about it. The thing is when there is a big movie like Universal's "Spartacus", producers (namely Italian ones) just aren't able to say "It's great, but that's the end of it." No - they have to keep on dragging it on until they go bankrupt. This movie was unadvisable from before it had started. There was already "Il Figlio di Saprtacus" in circulation, asserting that the hero was dead, so the idea of resuscitating him for this reel was just a certainty that the film would result as being obtuse. Once again - DESTROY IT!
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