Written by: George Pacheco on October 3rd, 2013
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1992
Director: Fabio Bonzi
Cast: Franco Nero, Vittoria Belvedere, Aleksandr Abdulov
DVD Release Date: October 8th, 2013
Approximate Running Time: 98 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Fullscreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Italian
DVD Release: One Seven Movies
Region Encoding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95
The Sack of Rome was originally released in 1992—far after the halcyon days of Italian genre cinema—and served as one of only two directorial efforts from Fabio Bonzi, who served as an art director for the classic drama Cinema Paradiso.
The film was an Italian-Russian co-production which went under the title of Zoloto, and told the tale of Gabriele di Poppi, a painter whose town and home are overrun by invading German soldiers. Gabriele’s lover Gesuina is taken as a prisoner and sex slave, while her captor demands Gabriele paint his portrait as a conquering warrior.
The Sack of Rome is an ambitious costume drama and pseudo historical piece which is bolstered by two specific elements: the reliable acting of star Franco Nero and the unbelievable beauty of his co-star, Vittoria Belvedere.
The film’s clothing and settings are beautiful, while the cinematography of Mikhail Agranovich captures an opulence which belies the film’s humble budget constraints.
Bonzi and his crew manage to capture a swashbuckling atmosphere here which retains the interest, even when the action sequences settle down in favor of high drama and romance. Speaking of which, it needs to again be mentioned how Belvedere’s visual presence lifts the film’s erotic elements to heights which are likely unexpected from anyone going into The Sack of Rome with visions of dreary dialog or stilted battle scenes.
One Seven Movies presents The Sack of Rome in a fullscreen presentation which seems sourced from VHS, although this crime is forgivable when considering how obscure Bonzi’s film likely is for most foreign audiences. The audio track is solid, although the subtitles would have benefited from a once over or two. Extras are limited only to a poster gallery, leaving The Sack of Rome as a film meant for Franco Nero diehards which possesses a secret weapon in the form of Vittoria Belvedere.