16 user 18 critic

The Spider's Stratagem (1970)

Strategia del ragno (original title)
A man returns to the place where his father was murdered and tries to find closure. But he finds himself in a similar predicament as his late father instead.


Jorge Luis Borges (story "Tema del traidor y del héroe") (as J.L. Borges), Marilù Parolini (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
1 win. See more awards »




Cast overview:
Giulio Brogi ... Athos Magnani, father and son
Alida Valli ... Draifa
Pippo Campanini Pippo Campanini ... Gaibazzi
Franco Giovanelli Franco Giovanelli ... Rasori
Tino Scotti Tino Scotti ... Costa (e con la partecipazione di)


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


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


Drama | Mystery


See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »


Athos Magnani, father and son: [talking to a horse] Locked you in, too? You knew my father, too? Is it true we're identical?
See more »


sono esguiti dal Concerto CANTONI
I brani
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User Reviews

Thematically Deep But Lacking Entertainment Value
12 October 2012 | by LechuguillaSee 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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Release Date:

27 March 1973 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

The Spider's Stratagem See more »

Filming Locations:

Mantua, Lombardia, Italy See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording)


Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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