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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Prince Of Foxes (1949)

It's 1500 Renaissance Italy and the Borgia family is expanding its empire under the guidance of the notorious Cesare Borgia (Orson Welles). He sends a spy (Tyrone Power) to the kingdom of Ferrara, a territory he wishes to add to the Borgia empire. But the spy falls under the spell of Ferrara's Duke (Felix Aylmer) and his much younger wife (Wanda Hendrix). Based on the novel by Samuel Shellabarger and directed by Henry King. It's a rather stodgy epic with one good battle scene but a mystery bigger than any in the film is why 20th Century Fox chose to shoot the film in B&W when it screams out for Technicolor. Fox went all the way to Italy to shoot on authentic locations, its excellent cinematography (Leon Shamroy) and costumes (Vittorio Nino Novarese) were justifiably Oscar nominated but Technicolor would have gone a long way to liven up the proceedings. As he proved in THE BLACK SWAN, Power is a suitable swashbuckler but it's Welles who takes the acting honors even if he is shameless in his scene stealing: in a touching reunion between a mother and her tortured son while everyone else is tearing up, Welles munches on his dinner! The rousing score is by Alfred Newman. With Everett Sloane, Katina Paxinou, Marina Berti and Leslie Bradley.   

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