- 1h 28min
A Renaissance leader tries to unify a still feudal Italy.His black band of followers anticipates the Fascists of a later Italy when the film was made.A Renaissance leader tries to unify a still feudal Italy.His black band of followers anticipates the Fascists of a later Italy when the film was made.A Renaissance leader tries to unify a still feudal Italy.His black band of followers anticipates the Fascists of a later Italy when the film was made.
Needless to say his image has been thoroughly cleaned up here and this idealised portrait emphasises his undeniable daring, forceful character and courage in battle.
He is played here by Austrian Luis(here billed as Luigi) Trenker who also directs. He had acquired a strong sense of the visual, as had Leni Riefenstahl, from working on the early 'mountain' films of Arnold Fanck. This visual sense stands him in very good stead here. There are plenty of marvellous images and thrilling sequences in this to hold ones attention. The opening siege is brilliantly edited and the Dolomites take the place of Trenker's beloved Tyrol.
Giovanni was not nearly as imposing a figure as the actor playing him and statues of him are singularly uninspiring to say the least. Undaunted by this the makers have shown us instead the impressive equestrian statues of the condottiero Colleoni and Emperor Marcus Aurelius and thrown in for good measure the David of Michelangelo and Perseus of Cellini! We also have a march on Rome, reflecting that of 1922 and the Black Bands who fight under Giovanni eerily foreshadow Mussolini's Black Shirts.
The female interest is supplied by Laura Nucci and Carla Sveva both of whose careers flourished under the Fascist regime. Opera giant Tito Gobbi, looking impossibly young here, utilises his beautiful baritone as a call to arms.
The film has been criticised for its lack of narrative cohesion and for being a succession of lovely frescoes. It is certainly no masterwork and and is designed solely to glorify Il Duce and instil national pride. As an unashamed piece of propoganda it does what it says on the tin.
- Feb 27, 2021