Attila, the leader of the barbarian Huns and called by the Romans "The Scourge of God", sweeps onto the Italian peninsula, defeating all of the armies of Rome, until he and his men reach the gates of the city itself.
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The king of the Huns, whose hordes from various tribes and allies have been sweeping the Asian steppes and both Roman empires, dies, leaving the throne to two sons. Bleda, tired of war and hungry, bloody campaigns, wants to settle as allies of Rome in peace, his brother Attila believes only in the power of the sword. Roman general Aethius, who knows the Huns well as a result of former hostage exchanges, fails to get a true peace but buys a shaky one promising doubled tribute. The court of weakling emperor Valentinianus, moved north from Rome to Ravenna, where the true ruler is empress-mother Galla Placidia, widow of a barbarian king, refuses the terms and imprisons Aethius, who still refuses to seize power with Valentinian's sister Honoria. The ambitious princess now offers her hand and the empire as dowry to Attila, just what Bleda hoped for. Scorning peace, Attila has popular Bleda murdered during a hunt, and persuades the hordes to march with him on the empire. While clueless, ...Written by
The script is admittedly very badly written but it follows roughly Attila 's biography.Of course ,as it is a 75 min movie,many moments are passed over in silence but all that concerns the main characters is accurate: the brother was slain by Attila and his German vassals ,Honoria tried to forge an alliance with him,(but her brother locked her into a convent),and yes,the pope found the right words to stop the conqueror.He had previously failed in front of Paris ,reportedly with a little help from Saint Genevieve ,a woman of God who urged the Parisians to resist.
The film suffers from an international ill-assorted cast:an American (Quinn) ideally cast as the bar bar,an Italian (Sophia Loren) which made sense,but also a Greek thespian (Irene Pappas) plus three French actors :Henri Vidal cast as the noble loyal hero- a character not unlike the legionnaire he played in "Fabiola"-,who was formerly Attila's good friend (?),Claude Laydu who gives a passable performance of an effeminate fearful emperor ,probably influenced by Peter Ustinov's masterful portrayal of Nero in Mervyn Le Roy's "Quo Vadis" ,Colette Régis,an obscure actress plays his mother ,an over possessive one of course.
Also handicapped by a last scene which verges on Christian propaganda -the last picture is revealing-,the film is to recommend only for Quinn's fans.
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