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Romolo e Remo

Duel of the Titans
Romulus et Remus / Romulus und Remus

Italy/France 1961
produced by
Tonino Cervi, Alessandro Jacovoni for Titanus, Ajace, S.G.C., S.N.P.C.
directed by Sergio Corbucci
starring Steve Reeves, Gordon Scott, Virna Lisi, Ornella Vanoni, Massimo Girotti, Jacques Sernas, Franco Volpi, Laura Solari, Piero Lulli, José Greci, Gianni Musi, Andrea Bosic, Enrico Blori, Franco Balducci, Germano Longo, Bruno Tocci, Giuliano Dell'Ovo, Enzo Cerusico, Giovanni Cianfriglia
story by Sergio Corbucci, Sergio Leone, Luciano Martino, screenplay by Sergio Corbucci, Sergio Leone, Luciano Martino, Adriano Bolzoni, Ennio De Concini, Sergio Prosperi, Franco Rossetti, Duccio Tessari, music by Piero Piccioni, cinematography by Enzo Barboni

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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When they were babies, Romulus (Steve Reeves) and Remus (Gordon Scott) wehre abandoned by their mother Silvia (Laura Solari) when on the run from Amulio (Franco Volpi), who had just killed her hubby, the king of Alba Longa, to usurp his throne, and now wants to kill his sons too ... but no wuch luck.

Later Romulus and Remus are reared by a wolf, and yet later, a shepherd who shoots the wolf brings them up.

When the boys are all grown, herding sheeps is no longer a way to make a living, and they, along with many other shepherds, turn to stealing horses. One day, Romulus, Remus and their gang decide to raid Alba Longa for horses, but once there, Romulus falls for Julia (Virna Lisi), the fiancée of Curzio (Jacques Sernas), son of Amulio, and daughter of Tazio (Massimo Girotti), King of the Sabines. ... and while Romulus' friends duly steal the horses, he steals Julia ... and she soon learns to like him.

But of course, Romulus, slowed down by the girl, is soon caught by the Sabines and brought back to Alba Longa, where he is to be executed ... when Remus, who has declared himself leader of his wolfpack of horsethieves, and his men attack and lay ruins to Alba Longa to free his brother, and there the boys also meet their (by now dieing) mother for the first time and learn who they really are ...

In the end, Remus has not only succeeded in freeing Romulus and kill Amulio, Romulus has also brought Julia with him, who joins the gang out of her own free will ... but Romulus and Remus and their gang soon find theimselves on the run from Curtio, Tazio and the Sabines, and out of desperation they decide the impossible ... to go to the doomed land beyond the swamps and fire mountains, where there's supposed to be a valley to build a new city in ...

However, as if the threat of the Sabines wasn't enough, friction starts to show between the brothers when Remus - despite the fact that he has super-sexy fighting girl Tarpeja (Ornella Vanoni) on his side - makes his moves on Julia ... and eventually, the two brothers part ways, each with half of their gang, and while Romulus chooses to take the safe but long way through the forests, hot-head Remus decides to lead his part of the gang over the volcano ... which of coure erupts and kills everybody but Tarpeja and Remus ... and while Remus is still unconscious, the Sabines catch up with them, and Tarpeja gives away the whereabouts of the other part of the gang for a horse and her and Remus' life. When Remus comes to and learns about this, he kills her, then goes after both Romulus and the Sabines.

In the meantime, Romulus and company have found their place in the valley, and they are quick top build massive defenses (mostly death-traps) to stop the Sabines, who outnumber them 10 to one ... and against all odds, Romulus gang defeats the Sabines in the final battle, and Romulus defeats their king Tazio - who has since killed his daughter's no good fiancée Curzio with his own hands - personally ... but refrains to kill him at the request of Julia, Tazio' daughter. Tazio, a man of honour despite everything, admits defeat and promises Romulus peace (and support) between their two tribes from now on ... and everything seems to be heading for a happy ending when Remus appears just when Romulus is crowned king of Rome (the name of the city he's planning to build, I'm sure you've heard of it), mocks Romulus and his tribe and pronounces himself king ... and eventually he gets peace-loving Romulus so much over the edge that the two brothers engage in mortal combat ... and guess what, goodie Romulus wins ...

 

One of the best peplums (specifically Italian version of sword-and-sandal-movies, usually focussing on muscleman-heroes) of its time: The story is truly epic and avoids sillyness at least most of the time, it's driven by action without just dumbing down the plot, the action is competently crafted, the pace is reasonably quick, the cheese factor is very low, and the acting of most actors (even bodybuilders Steve Reeves and Gordon Scott) is at least adequate ... I can't but repeat, one of the best peplums of its time !!!

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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special appearances by
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directed by
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written by
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produced by
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