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Fenomenal e il Tesoro di Tutankamen

Phenomenal and the Treasure of Tutankamen

Italy 1968
produced by
Mauro Parenti for ICAR (= Industrie Cinematografiche Artistiche Romana)
directed by Ruggero Deodato (as Roger Rockefeller)
starring Mauro Parenti, Lucretia Love, Gordon Mitchell, John Karlsen, Carla Romanelli, Cyrus Elias, Charles Miller, Mario Cecchi, Agostino De Simone, Teresa Petrangeli, Spartaco Battisti, Bernardo Bruno, Mario De Rosa, Pieraldo Ferrante, Enrico Marciani, Maurizio Merli, Enrico Pagano, Gianni Pulone, Giuseppe Terranova
screenplay by Ruggero Deodato, based on an idea by Aldo Iginio Capone, music by Bruno Nicolai

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Thanks to Count Norton (Mauro Parenti), the mask of Tutankamen is on exhibition in France. But not only the mask is in France but also a host of shady characters who want to get hold of the mask, not so much because the mask is priceless, which in itself would be motive enough, but also because it's said to feature a treasure map leading to the actual treasure of Tutankamen.

In a daring yet diligently planned coup, master criminal Falkoff (Gordon Mitchell) manages to steal the mask, but that hasn't gone unnoticed by mysterious superhero Fenomenal, who is always close by but doesn't interfere - and yet the very next day, Count Norton (who is of course Fenomenal's alter ego) is delivered the mask. At the museum though, Egyptologist Micklewitz (John Karlsen) claims the mask exhibited is a fake, and it soon turns out there are more than one fake masks, and before long, nobody is sure anymore who has which mask. One thing's for sure though, Micklewitz is by no means the unworldly, helpless and paralyzed scientist he made the world believe but is in cahoots with Falkoff, desperate to get his hands on Tutankamen's treasure, and he kills everybody who gets in his way, including Falkoff.

Eventually, the action shifts from Paris to Tunisia for no real reason, where the Count/Fenomenal still tries to figure out the whole case (that long got lost on the audience) and get friendly with Micklewitz's pretty nurse Mike (Lucretia Love) - which in the finale leads to her being held hostage by her employer on his yacht while Fenomenal fights over the mask underwater. It all ends happily though, everybody gets what he or she deserves, and the Count gets Mike, who now turns out to be a CIA agent.

 

One of the first films by later Italian cult director Ruggero Deodato, this is by no means a good film, more of an uninspired hodgepodge of heist movie, travelogue and superhero flick (though the only thing superheroic about Fenomenal is that he wears a mask). On top of that, the pülot seems to be a tad overconvoluted and refuses to make too much sense, and the characters are pretty much uniformly bland.

Having said all that though, isn't this pretty much what you come to expect from an Italian superhero flick? Sure, there were stylish masterpieces like Diabolik, but these were few and far between, and most films were much more like Fenomenal e il Tesoro di Tutankamen, which might be by no means a good film, but good fun to watch nevertheless.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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written by
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