• Revolt Of The Slaves (Kino Lorber) Blu-ray Review

    Revolt Of The Slaves (Kino Lorber) Blu-ray Review
    Released by: Kino Lorber
    Released on: December 4th, 2018.
    Director: Nunzio Malasomma
    Cast: Rhonda Fleming, Lang Jeffries, Darío Moreno, Serge Gainsbourg, Ettore Manni
    Year: 1960
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    Revolt Of The Slaves – Movie Review:

    The penultimate film directed by Nunzio Malasomma, 1960’s Revolt Of The Slaves (or, La rivolta degli schiavi, in its native Italian) is an impressive looking Biblical epic that makes great use of some occasionally very impressive sets (and some occasionally less impressive sets as well – there are spots where things do look a little ‘manufactured’ but that’s okay, it’s part of the charm of these pictures).

    The story takes place three hundred years after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The Christian population of Rome has been forced into hiding, and they now practice their faith in massive catacombs underneath the city proper. Rome’s wealthiest man, Fabio (Gino Cervi), purchases a slave named Vibio (Lang Jeffries). When, at a party, Vibio is ordered to entertain the guests with a wrestling match, his rebellious streak shows itself. Fabio’s beautiful daughter, Claudia (Rhonda Fleming), is incensed over this act of defiance and she orders that he be beaten. Not only is Claudia cruel to the family’s slaves, she’s also got some obvious disdain for Christians. What she doesn’t realize is that her cousin, Agnese (Wandisa Guida), and her father's close associate, Sebastian (Ettore Manni), are covertly practicing their faith away from Roman eyes.

    Away from Fabio’s home, Corvino (Serge Gainsbourg) takes control of the police by murdering his superior, Valerio (Fernando Rey). He makes it a priority to raid the confines of the Christian underground and take them into custody or worse. When Claudia learns of Agnese’s faith, she agrees to help the Christians, even if she doesn’t share their faith. And then, not so surprisingly, she starts to fall for Vibio…

    Well-paced and quite exciting, Revolt Of The Slaves is good entertainment. Likely influenced by the success of Ben-Hur the year before, it offers up just the right mix of drama, intrigue, romance and action – with the action set pieces really impressing quite nicely. While the romance angle could have sunk this one hard and fast, Malasomma and company were savvy enough to make sure not to overdo it in that regard. Yeah, Vibio and Claudia fall in love and, yeah, we can see that coming a mile away but the emphasis of the picture is on the plight of the Christian slaves rather than the love angle. The movie is better for it, building quite nicely and with no small amount of suspense to a seriously impressive finale that takes place in a massive stadium, the kind of backdrop that gives the movie a very epic feel.

    Performances are pretty decent here. Rhonda Fleming, top billed in the film’s marketing materials, is quit striking here. She looks great and handles the material well enough. Gino Cervi does fine as her father and Lang Jeffries, who was married to Fleming at the time that this picture was made, is a pretty decent, likable leading man. Fernando Ray isn’t in the movie long enough to make too much of an impression, while Serge Gainsbourg manages to steal just about every scene that he’s involved with, playing his weaselly, power hungry miscreant with just the right amount of enthusiasm.

    Revolt Of The Slaves – Blu-ray Review:

    Kino brings Revolt Of The Slaves to Blu-ray on a 25GB disc framed in its original 2.35.1 widescreen aspect ratio and presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition. Mild print damage shows up here and there, mostly just small white specks and the occasional scratch, but otherwise the picture looks pretty decent. Color reproduction is very strong and black levels are good. There’s a reasonable amount of depth here and detail is can frequently look quite good. No problems with any noise reduction or edge enhancement to complain about.

    The English language DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track sounds decent. There are no alternate language or subtitle options provided. Dialogue is easy to follow, quite clear, and the score has pretty good range and depth for an older mono mix.

    Extras are limited to a trailer for the feature and bonus trailers for a few other Kino Lorber properties. Menus and chapter selection are also included.

    Revolt Of The Slaves – The Final Word:

    If there are times where the modest budget shines through, Revolt Of The Slaves is nevertheless a genuinely interesting and entertaining sword and sandal film made all the better by some fun performances and some impressive art direction. Kino’s Blu-ray release is light on extras but, more importantly than that, it does look and sound quite good. Recommended.
    Click on the images below for full sized Revolt Of The Slaves Blu-ray screen caps!