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THE LAST 4 DAYS (1974)

DIRECTOR: Carlo Lizzani

CAST: Rod Steiger, Franco Nero, Lisa Gastoni, Henry Fonda, Bruno Corazzari, Manfred Freyberger, Marco Guglielmi, Tom Felleghy, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart, Luciano Pigozzi, Bill Vanders and Giuseppe Addobbati.

REVIEW: When I finally saw THE LAST 4 DAYS, and I was blown away by how amazingly well done it was. The film stars the great Rod Steiger (A FISTFUL OF DYNAMITE) as Benito Mussolini, who faces his last 4 days of life. The film features great Ennio Morricone music, superb direction and great performances all-around by an all-star cast.

Rod Steiger is absolutely INCREDIBLE as Mussolini. He faces his last days on earth having to make several major decisions as his life and nation fall apart around him. I can't describe his performance; it's just powerful and incredibly believable. He's got a few big, loud scenes where he literally explodes at his subordinates and you feel as though he's gonna jump out of your TV and grab you. Franco Nero (THE FIFTH DAY OF PEACE) is great, too, as an Italian partisan officer who is assigned to kill Mussolini. He's passionate about killing the man and won't let anything stand in the way of his mission. Lisa Gastoni (THE WILD, WILD PLANET) is excellent as Mussolini's wife, who like any loyal wife, wants to be with her husband through the thick and thin. Henry Fonda (BATTLE FORCE) is very good in a small role as Cardinal Schuster, who tries to help Mussolini but ultimately fails. Watch also for: Giuseppe Addobbati (HELL'S BRIGADE), Andrea Aureli (ADIOS, SABATA), Bruno Corazzari (BATTLE OF THE COMMANDOS), Marco Guglielmi (THE BATTLE OF EL ALAMEIN) as an Italian blackshirt; Tom Felleghy (HORNETS' NEST) as an OSS officer; Luciano Pigozzi (THE LAST HUNTER), John Stacy (DESERT COMMANDO) as a German convoy commander; and finally Giacomo Rossi-Stuart (LAST DAY OF THE WAR) as an American officer assigned to apprehend Mussolini.

The direction is tight and spectacular. Carlo Lizzani brings every aspect to the movie to life. The paranoia and confusion of Italy falling apart is brought to stunning life. There is not a wasted frame in this movie, and the pace is set perfectly. The editing is also very good, -- especially in the scenes where Mussolini is jumping from flashback to current time -- are shocking realistic. In some bleak scenes, Ennio Morricone's score is haunting and really penetrates you. In others, the score is lively and brings the beauty of the Italian countryside to life.

I saw this movie as a copy of a copy of the Lightning Video. The print is relatively clear, especially for a 3rd generation copy. There are plenty of scratches and speckles, but that's to be expected from a public domain movie this old. I don't believe any footage has been removed. If there is any missing footage, it doesn't show in the editing. The audio is acceptable. The credits (and some other single shots with onscreen titles or captions) are letterboxed about 1.85:1 to 2.2:1, depending on the shot See an original video; don't be lazy like me and settle for somebody else's dub. The visual quality is essential to the feel of the movie.

This is an amazing drama of a leader that not many people know much about. The film gives a true insight into the last days of his life, and we see him as more of a man than as a diabolical Fascist leader. For being so professional and stunning in every way, I highly recommend this movie.


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