The Defeat Of Hannibal

  • 1937
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Adventure, Biography

A pet project of Benito Mussolini's, this film alone was enough to get Il Duce hanged by his heels and spat upon. It is one of the few films which deserves to be judged entirely on its intentions, as opposed to the images on the screen. The plot (for the curious) details the life and accomplishments of the young Scipio (played by Ninchi), who talked the...read more

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A pet project of Benito Mussolini's, this film alone was enough to get Il Duce hanged by his heels and spat upon. It is one of the few films which deserves to be judged entirely on its intentions, as opposed to the images on the screen. The plot (for the curious) details the life and

accomplishments of the young Scipio (played by Ninchi), who talked the Senate into letting him invade Africa in 202 B.C. Scipio wound up with a remarkable victory over the Carthaginians, returning to his home soil as a hero. It seems that Mussolini thought this story would greatly inspire troops

and troops-to-be into fighting for his cause. Already having one screen credit to his name (THE HUNDRED DAYS, a German picture from 1935, was based on a play by Mussolini), II Duce felt it was time for another. His name, however, is not on the credits; instead, he put his son Vittorio in charge of

the production. So, what do you get when a film is the brainchild of one of the world's most vile and notorious dictators, and is produced by his inexperienced 21-year-old son? Toss in the unparalleled talents of director Gallone, who nearly sank the Italian film industry, and you get a big fat

nothing. The film reportedly cost twenty times more than the average Italian production, used built-to-scale sets, 12,000 troops as extras, 500 camels, 19 real elephants, and 60 papier-mache elephants pushed around by assistants to simulate real animals. On top of it all, the grandiose battle

scenes are occasionally blessed with the presence of telephone wires in the background, and wristwatches visible under the robes of "peasants." As powerful as the Mussolinis were, they couldn't get people to take a liking to their "masterpiece." It had a very short run in New York, but even in its

homeland it ran for only a week. Before long, it was being shown to disinterested school children and becoming the butt of many of their jokes. In short, Mussolini knew just about as much about filmmaking as he did about human rights. Unbelievably, he did make another attempt at the big screen,

sending Vittorio to Hollywood in hopes of injecting some American blood into his productions. He proposed a project (which was actually agreed to!) casting Laurel and Hardy in an operetta based on Verdi's "Rigoletto." Thankfully, for Laurel and Hardy's sake, politics interfered.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: A pet project of Benito Mussolini's, this film alone was enough to get Il Duce hanged by his heels and spat upon. It is one of the few films which deserves to be judged entirely on its intentions, as opposed to the images on the screen. The plot (for the c… (more)

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