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Many Wars Ago

4.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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(Jan 07, 2014)
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Editorial Reviews

In Northern Italy, WWI has turned into a bloody stalemate. Bogged down in their trenches on a barren highland, the men of an Italian infantry division have been given one objective: retake a commanding height from the enemy. Unfortunately, the tactical ingenuity of general Leone, the unpopular division commander, consists of supplementing frontal attacks against machine-guns with medieval fighting schemes. His dispirited troops must be prodded with ever harsher measures into storming the Austrian positions.As casualties mount, indignation spreads amongst the rank and file. Disturbed by the decisions of his superiors, lieutenant Sassu is progressively led to question the purpose of the war and to reconsider where his real duties lie.

Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Color, NTSC
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Kino Lorber films
  • DVD Release Date: January 7, 2014
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00GNAXPQW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #145,509 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
After being stunned by this film when it was presented on French TV, I have long waited for it to be available in a Region 1 DVD. Agreeing with Mr. Smith's previous comments, I would only add that this film and "La Grande Guerra" of Vittorio Gassman and Alberto Sordi besides being spectacular films are essential because of their look at the Italian experience in WWI. Both owe much to Emilio Lussu's book "Un anno sull'altipiano" which, at last, will be published in 2014 in its English translation entitled "A Soldier on the Southern Front: The Classic Italian Memoir of World War I"
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Format: Blu-ray
“Hitch Hike” stars Franco Nero (“Django”) as Walter Mancini, an alcoholic newspaper editor. He and his wife, Eve (Corinne Clery, “The Story of O”), are on a road trip across California to save their troubled marriage. Along the way, they pick up a stranded motorist (David Hess) who introduces himself as Adam Konitz. Konitz soon turns out to be a sadistic psychopath from an institution for the criminally insane. He’s running from the law and his two accomplices after stealing $2 million. He takes the couple hostage and orders them to head to Mexico. Walter and Eve try to find not only a way to get rid of the hitch-hiker, but also a way to deal with each other when both have their sights on the stolen money.

Rarely seen in the United States, “Hitch Hike” is an Italian production made in 1977. It contains a great deal of violence, much of it exploitative. Director Pasquale Festa Campanile relies on violence and misogyny to supply interest, with Eve stripped, raped and humiliated for most of the film, though she is clearly more emotionally mature than the men. Attempting to make the dialogue ominous and foreboding, the script only succeeds in making it sound pretentious and awkwardly bombastic.

The movie was filmed in Italy, with Italian locations effectively standing in for the American Southwest. The score is by Ennio Morricone (“The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” “The Hateful Eight”).

Special features on the new widescreen HD Blu-ray transfer from an original 35-mm negative include the half-hour documentary “Road to Ruin” and a fully illustrated booklet. The soundtrack is available in English and in Italian with English subtitles.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
A wonderful work of art from Francesco Rosi. The film seems to receive much less attention than similarly themed films, like Kubrick's Paths of Glory. Nevertheless, the realism of war represented by the film is enduring, and as Rosi indicated, this is one of the films he felt very satisfied with on screen. The color of war may never have been expressed so plainly on film.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I have been a fan of director Francesco Rosi for many years and was excited to see this film. I am happy to report that I was not disappointed. "Many Wars Ago" ranks among the best anti-war films of all time. Rosi's story takes place on the Italian/Austrian front during World War I and stars Mark Frechette, Alain Cuny and Gian Maria Volonte. Rosi's film is clearly set on the Trentino Front around 1916-17; but, serves surely as a corollary to the then contemporary war in Vietnam. Rosi's film paints a portrait of war weary men called upon time and again to leave their trenches in attempts to storm enemy positions. The results are horrific and in one attack a major is killed and in an act of arbitrary cruelty, every sixth man of his platoon is chosen to be executed by a firing squad of his comrades in some kind of bizarre compensation for the officers death. The bravery of the men in the trench is never in doubt. But the missions become less strategic and more about the whims of the autocratic General Leone (brilliantly realized by Alain Cuny). Eventually these conditions lead to mutiny among the decimated Italian troops. Rosi is widely considered one of the great masters of European post-war cinema, exploring divisive political issues in his work. The performances in Rosi's film are uncompromisingly fine; but particularly noteworthy is Mark Frechette as Lt. Sassu. Frechette was the handsome but troubled young American discovered by Michaelangelo Antonioni to star in his equally troubled production "Zabriskie Point." Frechette, inexperienced and insecure as an actor, stated he was abandoned by Antonioni during the production and subsequently his performance reflected that lack of guidance.Read more ›
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Format: Blu-ray
Alongside "Come and See", Richardson's "The Charge of the Light Brigade", "Japan's Longest Day", "Patton", and "The Big Red One", this would be on my shortlist for the greatest war film of all time.

Bears some similarities to Kubrick's "Paths of Glory", but in my opinion Rosi's film (and I don't say this lightly) is better. Rosi casts light both on universal military fault-lines and an intrigingly lesser known theatre of WWI, the Italian Alps in 1916.

There are several unforgettable scenes, including one where troops in plate armour attempt to storm the Austro-Hungarian positions. Looking like Tin Man from "The Wizard of Oz", the scene is based on the Italians' failed experiment with "Farina" body armour.

Piero Piccioni provides an appropriately doom-laden score, and Rosi gets committed performances from his international cast of actors. One imagines that Gian Maria Volonte was particularly chuffed with the awakening Marxism of his character!

Now where are the remastered versions of Rosi's great trilogy from the 1970s? "The Mattei Affair", "Lucky Luciano", and "Illustrious Corpses". Criterion box-set please!
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