Saturday, August 8, 2009


Director - Guido Zurli 1962
Cast: Jose Suarez (Dionigi Tragona), Linda Cristal (Alema), Cristina Gaioni (Isabella), Mimmo Palmara (Jafaire), with Walter Barnes (Friar Metachini)Jose Jaspe (Calavas), Jose Tores (Omar), Renato Montalbano (Sultan of Constantinople), Helene Chanel (Rosalana), and Vittorio Sanipoli (Demetrius).
Story by Umberto Lenzi
Screenplay by Sergio Leone, Adriano Bolzoni, Bebo Marrosu, Guido Zurli
Music Gian Stellari and Guido Robuschi
Copyright Nazionalmusic, Milan
Art Director Oscar D'Amico
Costumes Mario Giorsi
Assistant Costumes Rosalba Menichelli, Silvano Giusti
Footwear Pompei
Make-up Renato Bomarzi, Angelo Roncaioli
Set Dresser Danilo Zanetti
Hair Dressser Emma Camia
Production Supervisor Giancarlo Campiodori
Assistant Director Giulio Pannaccio
Production Secretary Gianfranco Borgiotti
Script Girl Marcella Mariani Rossellini
Cameraman Franco Di Giacomo
Assistant Cameraman Fernando Gallandt
Sound Pietro Spadoni
Special Effects Oscar Verdenelli
Fencing Master Fernando Poggi
Exteriors filmed in Yugoslavia in collaboration with Dubrava Film - Globus Film of Zagreb
American version directed by Robert Stafford
Filmed in Eastmancolor in Totalscope
Director of Photography Luciano Trasatti
For the second unit Franco Villa
Editor Otello Colangeli
Production Manager Fernando Cinquini
Executive Producer Franco Caruso
Produced by Giacomo Gentilomo
James H. Nicholson and Samuel Z. Arkoff present
U.S. Distr. American International
An Italia Produzione Film Production
Prod. Reg. 2801
Oddly, ROBIN HOOD E I PIRATE didn't have a Friar Tuck, which would have seemed to have been a good role for Walter Barnes. Instead he played a pirate. Well, Barnes got to play a lusty and brawling Friar in LE VERDI BANDIERE DI ALLAH. And while it wasn't the world famous Tuck, it was pretty darn close.
Reminding viewers of THE GUNS OF NAVARONE, the cannon of San Antioch devastated all Saracen ships which came near. While the King of Spain and the Sultan of Constantinople were working toward peace, Governor Demetrius of San Antioch made a deal with King Charles of France to do all that he could to keep hostilities alive. Our hero, Captain Dionigi Tragona, refused to overlook this treason, and resigned from the military. This estranged him from his father, who continued to serve the Governor, and his fiancee, Isabella, whose father wouldn't allow the marriage. Soon, however, a failed attack by Turkish sailors and the kidnapping of Isabella would change everything.
Jose Suarez didn't get to play the swashbuckling hero very often, and his performance in this showed why; he's a good-looking man, but didn't have the charisma to make a good action star. And when he stood beside Mimmo Palmara, who had co-starred a number of times with Steve Reeves, Suarez hardly registered.
Luckily, the real stars of this movie were the women, and what a set of lovelies were assembled! There was the Gypsy fortune teller played by the raven-haired Linda Cristal. Besides making a sympathetic and credible heroine, she also had a chance to do a nicely seductive dance. For lovers of blonde hair, two beauties were featured in major roles. Helene Chanel was the more statuesque of the two and played a Venetian beauty who ended up sold into the Sultan's harem. Cristina Gaioni played the initially virginal fiancee of our hero, and was convincingly mousy enough to fall under the villain's spell. If these three weren't enough to convince viewers of where the filmmakers real interest lay, then the fact that a long section of the film took place inside the Sultan's harem would settle the case. Intercut with the harem scenes were shots of Cristal and Palmara being tortured in the palace dungeon, which gave the film a slightly creepy atmosphere of sadism - which was just about the only sequence which seemed reminiscent of other films upon which Sergio Leone labored as a writer. Note that the original story was credited to Umberto Lenzi, who had just made his directoral debut in LE AVVENTURE DI MARY READ, also with Walter Barnes.
Script-wise, the novelty of the film was that the Christians and the Saracens became friends and allies against a common enemy. This cross-cultural allegiance was best represented by the character of Friar Metachini. A Christian cleric held captive on The Black Eagle, which was captained by the one-eyed Jafaire, Metachini soon became indispensable as a doctor. While he was kidded for not being a good hostage for ransom, the Friar proved to be a loyal crew member by being the one who discovered the document which uncovered the plot by the Grand Vizier to murder the Sultan.
Eventually, Metachini, aided by Dionigi, had to steal into the Sultan's harem to prevent an assassination and to rescue Jafaire.
As in previous films, Barnes made a convincingly good-natured fellow with an enormous appetite. This role allowed him more than his usual chances to be comedic, and he proved able. He also handled the action stuff as well as usual.
For a movie with so many Spanish actors, it was hard to believe that this wasn't a co-production with Spain, and that the exteriors were filmed in Yugoslavia - but would the credits lie?
Director Giacomo Gentilomo was the producer of this film, and seemed to be working with the standard budget given to these kinds of pictures. Reportedly, he was also the director of at least the second unit stuff, but there was no evidence here of the atmosphere found in his better films; SIGFRIDO, MACISTE CONTRO IL VAMPIRO (U.S.: GOLIATH AND THE VAMPIRES), and MACISTE E LA REGINA DI SAMAR (U.S.: HERCULES AGAINST THE MOON MEN).
First time director Guido Zurli didn't get another feature credit until 1966 with E MEZZANOTTE...BUTTA GIU IL CADAVERE. In 1973, he went to Turkey with Alan Steel for KUCUK KOVBOY.
(This is available in a B&W version from Something Weird Video. It is unknown who re-edited the print to put the first scene before the credits, and half of the credits after the end. Thank you to John Strange for helping me to see this.)


  1. Sería interesante una crítica sobre "Sigpress contro Scotland Yard" (Gangsters 70), 1967

  2. Linda Cristal, Condominium, 1980, with Barbara Eden

  3. José Suárez, in "Curro Jiménez", 1977, Serie TV