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Il Boia di Venezia

The Executioner of Venice
Blood of the Executioner / Der Henker von Venedig

Italy 1963
produced by
Ottavio Poggi for Liber Film
directed by Luigi Capuano
starring Lex Barker, Guy Madison, Alessandra Panaro, Mario Petri, Alberto Farnese, Giulio Marchetti, Fedor Chaliapin jr, Franco Fantasia, Raf Baldassarre, Mirella Roxy, Marija Tocinoski, John Bartha
screenplay by Luigi Capuano, Arpad DeRiso, based on a story by Ottavio Poggi, music by Carlo Rustichelli

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Not only is Sandrigo (Lex Barker) the son of the Doge of  Venice (Feodor Chaliapin jr), he is also extremely popular with the peasants, and he is engaged to be married to lovely Leonora (Alessandra Panaro). But unfortunately, he has two mighty enemies, the town's grand inquisitor Rodrigo (Guy Madison), who also wants to marry Leonora, and the local pirate Guarnieri (Mario Petri), who hates him because he is the son of the Doge.

So the day Sandrigo is going to marry Leonora does not turn into the happiest day of his life but into utter desaster when he is arrested for high treason and condemned to death by the Grand Inquisitor. And ironically, the Grand Inquisitor has employed pirate Guarnieri as his executioner, exactly the man Sandrigo is supposed to have committed his crimes with ...

Anyways, Sandrigo does not only manage to escape, he also manages to unmask the executioner and find out his secret ...

Sandrigo hides with his peasents and, with the help of even his father, the Doge, he plans a revolt against the Grand Inquisitor. Thing is though, the Doge isn't really his father, he only has adopted Sandrigo, who was actually the son of a pirate (and guess who this pirate was ...).

Anyways, Sandrigo's first attempt at revolt fails miserably, not only is the thrown into the dungeon again, his fiancee Leonora is also to be executed, after she refuses to marry the Grand Inquisitor. It is only when the executioner - that is of course Guarnieri, the pirate who has since been tormented by his conscience - prepares to behead Sandrigo and catches a glimpse of the tattoo on his chest (the virgin Mary, the same tattoo the pirate has on his chest as well) that Guarnieri finds out who Sandrigo really is, and instead of killing him, he helps him to save Leonora and lead the revolt against the Grand Inquisitor to a successful end ...

 

Sure, The Executioner of Venice is no match for similar Errol Flynn-pirate movies from 20 to 30 years earlier, it is a cheap, naive, even childish swashbuckler with quite a few unlikely plot twists and leaps of reason (how come the Grand Inquisitor employs a pirate as his executioner ?), and many of the battle scenes just lack actual conviction, but on the plus side, the film features colourful sets and costumes, the actual Venice-backdrop is of course priceless, and then there is of course the pure, somewhat boyish love for the genre, that makes this film, despite its shortcomings, totally watchable.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD