Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

DAMON AND PYTHIAS




















DAMON AND PYTHIAS (aka Il tiranno di Siracusa/1962). Director: Curtis Bernhardt.

Pythias (Don Burnett) leaves his angry pregnant wife in Athens and travels to Syracuse on a political mission. There he encounters the thief Damon (Guy Williams of Captain Sindbad), but after some unpleasant moments the two become allies against the tyrannical King Dionysius (Arnoldo Foa), leading to Pythias being condemned to death. Impressed with Pythias' noble nature, Damon makes an amazing offer and sacrifice. This is an entertaining if unspectacular and pretty faithful rendition of the legendary platonic friendship with good performances from the two leads. Ilaria Occhini is zesty as Pythias' fiery and passionate wife, and Liana Orfei is fine as Damon's girlfriend. It's a surprise that veteran director Bernhardt (Possessed; My Reputation) helmed this foreign entry; this was his next to last film. Burnett is an appealing, attractive actor but he only made one more [also Italian] movie. NOTE: Available from Warner Archives Collection in a new remastered and widescreen edition.

Verdict: The ending almost brings a lump to your throat. ***. 

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