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George P. Cosmatos
I finally had the privilege of seeing THE LAST 4 DAYS a few months ago, and I was blown away by how amazingly well done it was. The film stars the great Rod Steiger as Benito Mussolini, who faces his last 4 days of life. The film features great Ennio Morricone music, superb direction and great performances all-around by an allstar cast.
Rod Steiger is INCREDIBLE as Mussolini. He faces his last days on earth having to make several major decisions as his life and nation fall apart around him. I can't describe his performance; it's just powerful and incredibly believable. Franco Nero is great, too, as an Italian partisan officer who is assigned to kill Mussolini. Lisa Gastoni is excellent as Mussolini's wife, who like any loyal wife, wants to be with her husband through the thick and thin. Henry Fonda is very good in a small role as Cardinal Schuster, who tries to help Mussolini but ultimately fails. Watch also for: Giuseppe Addobbati, Andrea Aureli, Bruno Corazzari, Marco Guglielmi, Tom Felleghy, Luciano Pigozzi, John Stacy and finally Giacomo Rossi-Stuart as an American officer assigned to apprehend Mussolini.
The direction is tight and spectacular. Carlo Lizzani brings every aspect to the movie to life. The paranoia and confusion of Italy falling apart to stunning life. There is not a wasted frame in this movie, and the pace is set perfectly. The editing is also very good, -- especially in the scenes where Mussolini is jumping from flashback to current time -- are shocking realistic. Ennio Morricone's score is haunting and really penetrates you.
I saw this movie as a copy of a copy of the Lightning Video. The print is relatively clear, especially for a 3rd generation copy, and I don't believe anything has been removed. If there is any missing footage, it doesn't show in the editing. The credits are letterboxed about 1.85:1. See an original video; don't be lazy like me and settle for somebody else's dub. The visual quality is essential to the theme of the movie.
An amazing drama of a leader that not many people know much about. The film gives a true insight into the last days of his life, and we see him as more of a man than as a diabolical Fascist leader. For being so professional and stunning in every way, I give it a 10 out of 10.
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