10 December 2003 | copycat1025
A seldom-seen historical gem.
This is one of the better films of Riccardo Freda's middle period, and yet is one of those lost epics which have yet to be unearthed and re-released. Lucio Fulci shot a more modern version of the Cenci legend in 1970, and Guido Brignone directed the 1941 version. What stands out most in Freda's tale, is the visual arrangement. The sets are very well decorated with a artistic sense, and even minor details show a careful concern for visual effect. Everything is pleasing to the eye. The film is slightly hampered by melodrama, but the whole is executed with grace. Admittedly, I enjoy Freda's historical films much more than his horror and exploitation, and probably am looking at the films from his own standards, as his later films he viewed more as a paycheck than anything else. This film is up to par with "Teodora" and "I Vampiri," and is one of the notable instances in which Freda builds a very nice story with a minimum of "action" and a maximum of drama and technical skill.