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Il castello dei morti vivi (1964)
An Eerie Film With Great Ambiance
Ambiance is what it's all about, and this film has plenty of it. The setting is Europe during the Napoleonic era. A traveling circus troop has been invited to perform at a mysterious castle for a Count and his sleazy looking sidekick. This appears to be Donald Sutherland's first film, and he does a terrific job in a dual role. His presentation of an old hag-like witch is unforgettable. After seeing the movie, I found myself repeating some of the macabre rhymes, such as "Some will live and some will die before the morning sun is high." The acting is solid throughout. Don't expect a lot of action or violence. There's plenty of suspense throughout, however. The female minstrel is most exotic looking, and one watches in anticipation that she might eventually hike her skirt. The tension generated is occasionally broken by comic relief; some of it unintentional no doubt. There is a bit of sword play at the end, which appeared very awkward, but the awkwardness seemed to enhance the realism in a most peculiar way. It had been years since I had seen this film, and I fondly recalled it. I was successful in locating a reasonably crisp copy on DVD. I plan on watching it again soon. I easily rate it a 7 out of 10 based on entertainment value. After all, how many films can offer up their own midget toss?