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Prince of Foxes (1949)
Topic Started: Nov 16 2017, 06:16 PM (146 Views)
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Prince of Foxes (1949) Dir. Henry King
A 20th Century-Fox Production
107 min. / B&W / 1.37:1
On DVD from Fox/BD from Kino

Ah, intrigue, assassins, evil and goodness, and a lot of falsehoods and chicanery in court: welcome to the world of Cesare Borgia (Orson Welles), who lusts after a neighboring kingdom and sends flunky Tyrone Power(!) to get it for him. Ty becomes rather fond of the old Count and his young, pretty wife, though, and decides to switch sides, much to the chagrin of Borgia and his unscrupulous assassin, Everett Sloane(!!). This means war, and the castle is under siege and Borgia has only one demand: bring me the head of Tyrone Power. (With the body attached, he has devilish plans for it.)

Excellent film, a big flop in its day, I've read, but I don't care: probably the problem is that there's too much intrigue and not enough action. Or maybe that it's in B&W instead of flashy Technicolor (after the last couple of swashbucklers I watched, I was quite surprised - and yes, disappointed - to discover this one was not in color. Ah, well. I still loved it - Welles is particularly wonderful as the boasting, oh-so-rotten Borgia. Power is, well, Power, and I loved seeing Sloane as something other than a corrupt businessman for once. Felix Aylmer and Wanda Hendrix are the Count and Countess.

Million-dollar Dialog:
Mr. Power: "I ask to be taken to Cesare Borgia."
Captain: "By his orders I sit in his seat."
Mr. Power: "Well, sit lightly, my friend, lest you damage your brain."

A beautiful score by Alfred Newman, exciting locales (it was filmed "where it happened" at various Italian castles), and a gripping story make this one, if not an action epic, at least pretty engrossing. I have the DVD but may well upgrade to HD if I find an inexpensive copy.
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Balcony Gang, Foist Class
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Lucretia, the sexiest and most famous Borgia, turns up early in the film as an implied incentive for Power's character. If memory serves she vanishes entirely after the first reel or two.
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