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The Gamble, aka 'La Partita' , shot straight to VHS after it was released in 1988. Matthew Modine, Jennifer Beals and Faye Dunaway would star in this period piece directed by Carlo Vanzina. Plot: When Francesco (Modine) returns home with the assumption that his father's wealth will be there to keep him content, he discovers that his father has lost everything to a German countess (Dunaway) while gambling. The countess is captivated by Francesco's good looks and physique and lets him gamble his life for the return of everything she has won from his father. He looses and becomes her slave. Francesco realizes that the countess never loses for some strange reason and fleas. The rest of this film is him on the run from the countesses' men until a dramatic confrontation with the countess at the end of the picture. One defining thing about this film is the locations. There are so many amazing Italian and European locations to awe at, whether it be the 15th century castles or the lush forests and mazes; The Gamble offers gorgeous locations by the pound. One thing to note however, this is another film which suffered some loss of quality in the picture due to its conversion to VHS. If you can get over the graininess, you can enjoy the film a lot more. Costumes are always a big thing in any sort of period piece. The Gamble features a plethora of wonderful costume's that seem like they were made for this movie alone. Whether you look at some of the old world dresses that the actresses wear to Modine's classic tux, it's all there! The acting in The Gamble is far from memorable. Modine seems one sided most of the time and a lot of the women actresses are portrayed as sex objects throughout the film with loads of unneeded nudity. Ian Bannen, who is usually a top notch actor, also seems to be suffering from poor direction I believe. This is another movie that does have good choreography. Just watch how some of those stunt doubles weave their horses throughout frames with ease. Even the swordplay is excellent; it's probably the most Modine does acting wise. The one big flaw in The Gamble is the ridiculous ending! I couldn't believe how the movie went from a classical renaissance kind of picture to a flat-out supernatural film! I'm not going to spoil the ending, but it did leave a sour taste in my mouth! So along with this and a few other flaws, watching The Gamble could very well be a gamble in itself! If you find it cheap enough (like I did) I would suggest purchasing it for three reasons: 1. How not to act. 2. To look at the scenery without actually spending money on traveling. 3. How not to anger your audience with the most non-believable ending I've ever seen
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