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Friday, May 30, 2008

THE SCARLET AND THE BLACK (1983)

With its excellent cast (Gregory Peck, Christopher Plummer, John Gielgud, Raf Vallone), classy technical credits (Giuseppe Rotunno/lenser, Ennio Morricone/score), this fact-based WWII tale of Rome’s SS Commandant and the wily Irish Vatican Monsignor who saved/hid thousands of partisans, Jews and enemy combatants within the city, should be better. But Jerry London proves a lummox of a director and manages to miss visual grandeur, suspense and the sheer fun of Peck as a most unlikely master of disguise. Still, quite watchable and Gielgud, soft-pedaling Pius XII’s complicity, is superb.

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