In 1500, Duke Cesare Borgia hopes to marry his sister (widowed by poison) to the heir apparent of Ferrara, which impedes his conquest of central Italy. On this delicate mission he sends Andrea Orsini, his cousin Angela's lover and nearly as unscrupulous as himself. En route, Orsini meets Camilla Verano, wife of the count of Citta' del Monte (Borgia's next intended conquest); and sentiment threatens to turn him against his deadly master, whom no one betrays twice...Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
One of the Most Beautiful B/W Historicals Ever Put Onto Film; Well-Acted
This is the only film whose producer ever rented a country. The tiny country rented to become "Citta del Monte" in Samuel Shellabarger's well-plotted "Prince of Foxes" was actually the real country of Andorra. The historical novel on which this beautifully-paced and emotionally satisfying film was made left Milton Krims, scenarist, with an unsolvable problem--which he proceeded to solve. The plot line involved Tyrone Power as ambitious young Andrea Orsini with Cesare Borgia's scheme to unite and rule Italy; Orson Welles does well as a charismatic Borgia, whose plan it is to marry his sister played by Marina Berti to the Duke of Ferrara; poison will follow, and the key to Italy will drop from the dying Duke's hand into his own grasp. But Andrea must first perform a mission involving the betraying of the strategic Citta Del Monte into Borgia's hands. His Mother, played by Katina Paxinou, is horrified when she hears what he is becoming; and during the mission, undertaken with Everett Sloane as an assassin he takes into service-- his own death having been the one planned--he decides to serve the Lord of the city, ably played by Felix Aylmer and also his daughter, with whom he if falling in love, miscast but hard-working Wanda Hendrix. The final battle is fought, and a happy ending is achieved--for all save Cesare Borgia and those whose death his schemes have wasted. This is a beautiful B/W drama, with lovely sets by Thomas Little,, Alfred Newman's fine music, Leon Shamroy's exquisite photography and period costumes by Vittorio Nino Novarese that I found unforgettable. Kudos also go to Roy D. Webb as 2nd Unit Director for the action scenes that relieve the very competent dialogue portions expertly crafted by director Henry King. This film, which could have been badly made, glows like a ruby set in the hilt of a dagger flashing back the rays of a spring sun. It is well-remembered, and a benchmark of a production against which other historical dramas are measured still.
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