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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Carthage In Flames (aka Cartagine In Flamme) (1960)

Set during the last of the Punic Wars and Rome's final victory over and destruction of Carthage. Political treachery, romantic attachments, courage and valor all come to the forefront as Carthage faces its annihilation. On the surface, the film appears to be one of the many Italian sword and sandal productions regularly ground out during the sixties but its pedigree is a bit more elevated. Based on the novel by popular (in Italy anyway) adventure author Emilio Salgari, the film's production values are imposing. Handsomely shot in 70 millimeter Technirama by Piero Portalupi (Visconti's BELLISSIMA) with some excellent set pieces such as a battle at sea that's more impressive than Wyler's BEN-HUR. Mario Nascimbene (THE VIKINGS) provided the stirring underscore and the cast features Pierre Brasseur (LES ENFANTS DU PARADIS), Daniel Gelin (LA RONDE), Anne Heywood (THE FOX) and future spaghetti western star, Terence Hill. Where the film fails is in the uninspired narrative which is all over the place resulting in some incoherence, it helps if you have a bit of historical knowledge regarding the background since the film's storyline deals with it only tangentially. Directed by Carmine Gallone. With Jose Suarez, Paolo Stoppa, Ilaria Occhini and Edith Peters.

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