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The Spider's Stratagem (1970)

Strategia del ragno (original title)
Athos Magnani, a young researcher, returns to Tara, where his father was killed before his birth, at the request of Draifa. The father, also named Athos Magnani and looking exactly like the... See full summary »

Writers:

(story "Tema del traidor y del héroe") (as J.L. Borges), | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Credited cast:
...
...
Pippo Campanini ...
Gaibazzi
Franco Giovanelli ...
Rasori
Tino Scotti ...
Costa
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Allen Midgette ...
Sailor
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Storyline

Athos Magnani, a young researcher, returns to Tara, where his father was killed before his birth, at the request of Draifa. The father, also named Athos Magnani and looking exactly like the son, was killed by a fascist in 1936 -- or so says Draifa (his mistress), the town statue, and everyone in town. As the son untangles the web of lies this story is constructed from, he finds himself ensnared in the same web. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

From Bernardo Bertolucci, the creator of "Before the Revolution," "The Conformist" and "Last Tango in Paris"

Genres:

Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 March 1973 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

The Spider's Stratagem  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording)

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The character Athos Magnani, Sr - played by Giulio Brogi - was born on 1900. The director Bernardo Bertolucci would go on to make a film set on around the very same era with 1900 (1976) See more »

Quotes

Athos Magnani, father and son: It's a town of madmen, old men and old madmen. Yesterday, they locked me in a stable with a horse. "We're all friends here." This morning when I was hardly awake, a punch in the face. "We're all friends here."
Draifa: I've not been able to sleep since he died. Insomnia, without dreams, without anything. Entire nights alert like a hunting dog. I've always known the murderer is a local man; now two of us know it. He's scared. He wants you to go.
Athos Magnani, father and son: Instead of leaving this morning, I'm still here. Among ...
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Connections

References The Last Sunset (1961) See more »

Soundtracks

Attila
Written by Giuseppe Verdi
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User Reviews

 
Thematically Deep But Lacking Entertainment Value
12 October 2012 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

A young man named Athos Magnani (Giulio Brogi) arrives at the small Italian town of Tara. Magnani's aim is to discover who killed his father, a local hero and anti-fascist, decades earlier. The script makes many references to Mussolini, the Italian fascist leader of the 1930s.

An essentially political film, "The Spider's Stratagem" contains deep themes related to personal identity, the definition of heroes, as well as perceptions of, and the truth about, others. Events and people are not always what they seem to be. The thematic depth is enhanced by competent cinematography, with some clever compositional camera shots.

And yet, I found this film hard to like. There is an overall sense of gloom, with a drab landscape and bleak characters that seem more symbolic of ideas vis-à-vis real people with personal lives. Direction trends theatrical and stagy. And some plot elements seem either unnecessary or deliberately opaque.

Acting also seems stagy and contrived, which may have been the director's intent. Alida Valli's performance is terrible. I dislike the way she smiles at the most inappropriate times. Further, the viewer must endure periodic outbursts of grand opera.

I am thus ambivalent toward "The Spider's Stratagem". It has adequate thematic depth, for viewers wanting a thought-provoking film. But the slow-moving plot is something of a trial to sit through, with irksome characters and gloomy visuals. I found it not entertaining.

Maybe a second viewing, when I have more time to digest the film's political themes, will render an impression that is not so alien and forbidding.


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