9 November 2016 | bkoganbing
I guess playing George Patton a very strong authoritative figure qualified George C. Scott to play another. Seeing Scott out there as a strutting peacock he really captures the charisma and the appeal that was Mussolini. In America we're getting set to have a taste of that right now. Highly appropriate I'm writing this review after Election Day 2016.
Mussolini, newspaper editor came to power after total Italian disillusion with World War I and their participation in it. Probably most in Italy felt they should have stayed out. They started as an ally to Germany and Austro-Hungary with the Central Powers. Then overnight they switched sides and fought a bloody war of attrition for three years. A post war depression with a lot of parliamentary politicians unable to solve an economic crisis and Italy was in the mood to listen to anyone promising prosperity and stability.
How stable? Italy was a kingdom ruled by the House of Savoy. King Victor Emanuel gave Benito Mussolini the seal of office and as Prime Minister he ruled for over 20 years under those auspices. Another war removed him though the Nazis tried to prop him up.
With the trappings of democracy Mussolini ruled as dictator with a dummy parliament and reserved unto himself the title of Il Duce. Just like his chum Adolph Hitler appropriated Der Furhrer for himself.
Unlike Hitler who was an aesthete and maybe impotent, Mussolini liked living large. Married with a family, his wife played by Lee Grant here he had one voracious appetite for the opposite sex. There is a famous story of how he raped a famous American correspondent, most likely Dorothy Thompson which is reenacted here. Did this past election ever bring that one to the forefront of my viewing memories.
In the end all Mussolini had was his mistress Clara Petacci or I should say the last and most well known of them. Virginia Madsen plays Clara exactly as she was a rather naive and stupid groupie. Take note of Robert Downey, Jr. playing Bruno Mussolini, a favored younger son, a chip off the old block who was killed in World War II.
Still the main feature of Mussolini: The Untold Story is a fascinating and compelling performance by George C. Scott. As Il Duce Scott is the real deal. And instructive in light of an uncertain future America faces.