15 July 2000 | Chris J.
Alone Against Rome is one of the very best sword and sandal spectacles I've ever seen ---Ridley Scott pillaged a lot of this film for the recent (2000) Gladiator!!!!
I saw this film on an old Sinister Cinema video release version just recently. It was dubbed almost as poorly as any Italian Peblum flick from the early 60's ever was and the print was panned and scanned, in poor quality, very reddish and the sound was only fair with lots of annoying hums and pops.
Still I found the film Alone Against Rome one of the very best films of this type.
The film was produced by Rossana Podesta's (known for Sodom and Gomorrah) husband. It tells the story of an over agressive Roman Tribune taking over an entire town and having Gladiator fights put on for his amusement. He takes a liking to Fabiola (Rossana) and to save her lover Brenno's life he becomes her captors lover. Her real love Brenno is forced to become a gladiator. Many of the healthiest town people, it's former rulers and guards become hostages and slaves for the Roman Tribunal. There are rebel forces that attempt to overthrow this corrupt roman tribunal.
Unlike the more recent Gladiator, this film shows the fate of a Christian hostage, avoids man against lion sequences, and shows several women throughout the town. Both Gladiator and this film feature a man doing battle against two lethal chariots outfited with sharp blades.
The film is extremely well acted (for this type of thing) has a pretty good script (though there are still some howlers in the dubbed version), and is quite suspenseful. The fights are well directed, and quite exciting to watch (usually in these types of films the fights are as phony as junior high schoolers play-wrestling--not the case here). The film was made with a pretty decent budget and while no where near the spectacle of something like Gladiator, it presents it's arena gladiator fights with plenty of spectacle.
Here's an almost lost and forgotten film that needs to be re-discovered, restored and given a DVD release. It's one of the very best of it's type. And if you are a Rossano Podesta fan she is radiant throughout.
Chris Jarmick (author of: The Glass Cocoon) 7/15/2000