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Revenge of the Crusader, The 
Written by: on March 26th, 2009

Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1964
Director: José Luis Monter
Writers: Riccardo Freda, José Luis Monter
Cast: María José Alfonso, Franco Balducci, Andrea Bosic, Antonella Della Porta, Beni Deus, Stephen Forsyth, Alberto Lupo, Umberto Raho, Ángela Rhu, Rosita Yarza

DVD released: April 28th, 2009
Approximate running time: 90 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Letterboxed Widescreen
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Italian
Subtitles: English
DVD Release: Mya Communication
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95

Synopsis: After suffering a near fatal injuring during battle, Count Sigfrido of Treviri, falls in love with Genoveffa the daughter of one of his enemies who helped nurse him back from the brink of death. Count Sigfrido unable to think of a life without Genoveffa, makes her his bride. Shortly after returning Treviri with his bride, Count Sigfrido is summoned by the King to join the crusades. In his absence his ask his right hand man Golo to watch over Genoveffa until he returns. The ever ambitious Golo who has been infatuated with Genoveffa ever since he first laid eyes on her, blackmails Genoveffa when she refuses to embrace his love for her. Genoveffa is convicted of adultery and sentenced to death.

The Revenge of the Crusader is a, Spanish / Italian co-production that was co-written and directed by José Luis Monter whose only other notable film credit includes working as a assistant director on  Riccardo Freda’s, Romeo and Juliet. The screenplay for The Revenge of the Crusader was co-written by Riccardo Freda whose other notable films include The Horrible Dr. Hitchcock, The Ghost, Double Face, The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire and Tragic Ceremony. The score for The Revenge of the Crusader was composed by Carlo Rustichelli, whose other notable scores include The Whip and the Body, Blood and Black Lace, The Maniacs and Kill, Baby… Kill! Carlo Rustichelli composes an adequate and at times unremarkable score for The Revenge of the Crusader.

The plot is a Medieval tale about jealously, obsession and revenge that owes a lot of its style and structure to the Peplum film genre which was on its last legs around the time this film was being made. Visually the film is very appealing as picturesque landscapes and sound stage locations are used to their fullest. The action sequences are well done, even if they are very tame, especially by today’s standards. Over the course of his career director Riccardo Freda had been replaced by other directors and his association with this film via the screenplay and some of the film’s visual style during the opening sequences, suggests he might have been this film’s original director.

The cast are more than adequate in their respective roles with the only stand out performance coming from Stephen Forsyth in the role of Golo. There is even a scene in The Revenge of the Crusader that foreshadows Stephen Forsyth’s most famous role John Harrington, from the Mario Bava film Hatchet for the Honeymoon. Golo disposes of a traitor by driving an axe through his skull. The most entertaining aspect of this film is watching Stephen Forsyth in one of his first starring roles going ballistic on anyone who opposes him. Ultimately if you are a fan of sword & sandal epics and swashbuckling adventures, than The Revenge of the Crusader should be right up your alley.

The DVD:

The Revenge of the Crusader is presented in a letterboxed widescreen that frame the image in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. This transfer has been flagged for progressive playback. The opening and closing credits are in Italian. The source used for this transfer is in good shape, print damage is virtually nonexistent. Also the 1.85:1 aspect ratio appears to be this film’s original aspect ratio as opening and closing credits fully appear in frame and the image never looks to tightly framed. Colors and flesh tones look accurate. Black levels fare well and outside of a few minor instances where the image looks a tad too soft, details look crisp throughout. There is some mild edge enhancement which is noticeable throughout.

This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in Italian. There are no problems with background noise or any other major audio defects. The audio sounds clear and evenly balanced and at times robust, mostly during the fight sequences and when the score for the film is playing in the background. Removable English subtitles that are easy to read and follow have been included. Of note the subtitles do have some grammatical errors.

This release comes with no extra content. Overall The Revenge of the Crusader gets a satisfying release that is highlighted by a well rounded audio video presentation.

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