Ivanhoe, the Norman Swordsman / La spada normanna (1971)

2.0 out of 5

Mark Damon is Ivanhoe in a fanciful tale that tries, fairly successfully, to re-imagine the Italian western as Medieval intrigue. So, here, let the swords and shields fool no-one. For, like countless, similar swashbucklers, Ivanhoe, the Norman Swordsman manages to squeeze further mileage from such a rich filone. There is even a lynching scene that could be cribbed straight from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Gunfights, here, of course, recast as swordplay and, besides a few appropriate cues, the soundtrack would also suggest such an affinity.

With minor supporting roles from character favourites Nello Pazzafini and Luciano Pigozzi, and the occasional slapstick diversion, the film provides a lightweight, if somewhat ahistorical, way to pass an unchallenging afternoon. Yet, for director Roberto Mauri, such fluff from the pen of Burial Ground and Nightmare City writer, Piero Regnoli, is all a far cry from the unmissable I mafiosi.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics