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A low-budget, but very effective, costume adventure.
This film is based on the life of Giovanni de Medici. However, this is no epic production, but rather a brisk adventure tale with several remarkable moments. I consider this one of the finest films of Sergio Grieco's early adventure period, and the film is probably given that professional gloss largely by the superior acting talents of Vittorio Gassman. All around, it is a good film, with some nice battle scenes, a careful building of drama, and quite effective atmosphere. It also has its traces of violence, as for example when Medici's soldiers plunder a castle at the instigation of the traitor Gasparo (Gerard Landry). This reminds me that Grieco, although he had his roots in the classical cinema, was an exploitation director, albeit a very good one at that. Grieco cast Landry in several other films of the period, and seemed particularly busy at this time making robust adventure tales based on Italian history. This was released in American drive-ins in the early 60's, and is today extremely difficult, if not impossible, to locate in its original form.
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