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  • Warning: Spoilers
    A historically accurate dark hour of WW2.In Italy ,the Jews are victims of a hateful blackmail:their persecutors demand 50 kilos of gold or 200 of them will be held hostages ;they have only one day ;most of them are deluded and begin to give jewels,watches;a catholic even gives her cross (but she wants it to be hammered out);everybody knows the ending:a roundup,as awful as that in Paris velodrome D'Hiver.

    The movie is rather sprawling ,with three or four sub-plots;the best concerns a shoemaker played by highly talented Gérard Blain (often nicknamed "the French James dean");the movie owes a good deal to him ,as it was the case of "Il Gobbo" ("Le Bossu De Rome" -"the hunchback of Rome").Blain was not exactly the easiest actor to work with: a rebel ,non-conformist ,sometimes depicted as a right- wing anarchist ,his career ran into difficulties after three great movies by Duvivier and Chabrol:he left for Italy and even for Hollywood where he was John Wayne's co-star in "Hatari";but then again,he turned his back on stardom and from 1971 onward,began to direct his own movies :they remained unfairly unsung but I urge cine buffs to try and see the best of them "Un Infant Dans La Foule" and "Les Amis"

    Forgive me this digression:but Blain is the soul of the movie,his rebel stand makes sense ,we are with him all along the way and when he finally joins the resistant fighters ,we hesitate on his side when it comes to shooting a German officer;in direct contrast with him ,we have the bland pretty boy Jean Sorel ,a catholic boy who wants to marry Jewish brunette Anna Maria Ferrero (also Blain's co-star in "Il Gobbo" )All that revolves around this impossible marriage ,hostile mom,conformist priest ,final sacrifice,all is predictable .And why Anna Maria favors listless Sorel to Blain remains a mystery.

    See it for some scenes with the Jews ,and mainly for Gérard Blain ,the great lost French actor of the sixties.
  • Bezenby3 March 2019
    I thought this was going to be some sort of Eurocrime film and instead I get a extremely tense, grim story of the plight of the Jews in Rome during the Second World War.

    During a Jewish baptism, two Gestapo officers appear in the synagogue and take away the head of the community. The SS Commander in Rome gives the head an ultimatum - they Nazis want fifty kilograms of gold from the Jewish community in two days, and if they don't get it, they want two hundred heads of the Jewish families as hostages instead.

    This creates a huge panic in the community. Most want to give the gold, but aren't even sure if there's fifty kilograms of gold in the community, others want to run while others want to fight, including Davide, a young hot blooded Roman who claims even getting the gold won't help matters. His childhood friend Guilia may have a chance as her fiance is Catholic Roman Jean Sorel

    , and the rules don't tend so much to spread to Jews who are in mixed marriages. We follow the community in general as they scrabble to survive.

    It's hugely upsetting, this film. The characters are made-up but the situation was very real. The Jewish community of Rome really did have to scrape fifty kilograms of gold together from jewellery, family heirlooms, and contribution from non-Jewish Romans, even approaching the Vatican at one point. And, as the cobbler says "The Nazis will only keep one promise - the promise to destroy us all!". It was all for nothing. The 1,259 Jews remaining in the Ghetto when the Nazis showed up were all taken to Auschwitz. Only sixteen, sixteen, survived.

    The last five minutes of this film are heartbreaking. Carlo Lazzani relates treats the story with respect.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A very fine story about Jews blackmailed by Nazis with appropriate details about the relation between Jews and Catholics, I let you discover this gem released in France.

    I always try any Carlo Lizzani movie since I saw The Hills Run Red, with fast and strong editing from 1966. And it was yet the case in this l'Oro di Roma in 1961, the last sequence in the city is amazing and very effective. I hope to discover more Carlo Lizzani, I remember also an incredible giallo from 1983, House Of The Yellow Carpet, and still incredibly not released.

    And if you are a fan of Gérard Blain, jump on this title, his character is great.
  • Companion to Lizzani's "Hunchback of Rome", lacking that films kinkiness and vigour.

    The opening has leather suits take the WW2 Roman Jewish leader to hear that the German commander demands fifty kilos of gold or two hundred heads of families as hostages. Sub plot offers Ferrero about to marry Catholic Sorel (here a soppy juvenile ) though she was Jewish militant Blain's dream girl.

    Blain's goes off to join the partisans and newly baptised Ferrero sees the sinister outcome.

    Not enough telling moments in the could have been more imposing development, along with ordinary sixties wide screen production values.