Sigfrido (1957)

SIGFRIDO (1957)
(a.k.a. THE DRAGON’S BLOOD)
Article #1728 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-7-2005
Posting Date: 5-6-2006
Directed by Geicomo Gentilomo
Featuring Sebastian Fischer, Ilaria Occhini, Rolf Tasna

A young man forges a magic sword with which he does battle with a ferocious dragon. He then bathes in the blood of the dragon, rendering him invincible. He then gets hold of a magic net that makes him invisible. He uses these powers to win the woman he loves, but not without making enemies.

Some movies are so difficult to find that when I do finally get my hands on a copy of one, I find it hard to complain too loudly about aspects of the print that disappoint me. The fact that the print is in unsubtitled Italian is the sort of problem I’ve come to expect with rare foreign films. My print is also badly panned-and-scanned; it’s one of those movies where you spend a lot of time watching two profiles on either end of the screen talking to each other. Nonetheless, I’m just grateful to have had a chance to catch this one.

Of course, the movie being in Italian makes it difficult for me to give any sort of meaningful criticism of the film, since I can’t say that I entirely understand what’s going on. However, the fact that it largely follows the same plot as Fritz Lang’s SIEGFRIED helps, and I know enough of the basic story to follow it up to a point. It’s only after Siegfried’s wedding that the plot really becomes talky and I lose track of the characters’ allegiances and motivations. Nevertheless, on a visual level, the movie is a bit of a mixed bag. Some scenes are very well staged; I like the action sequences in particular, and the Dragon (an uncredited creation of Carlo Rambaldi, if my sources are correct) is a lot of fun. Other scenes seem a little puny for an epic story (they could have used a few more extras in some of the scenes), and there are times where I almost wanted to laugh; in particular, Sigfrido’s fluffy costume near the beginning of the movie struck me as rather silly, and I would have preferred my hero to look more rugged than pretty. Nonetheless, this is an entertaining version of the story, and I hope to catch it some time with the proper subtitles and at the proper aspect ratio.

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