The Golden Arrow (1962)

aka La Freccia d’oro
Article 2841 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-16-2009
Posting Date: 5-24-2009
Directed by Antonio Margheriti
Featuring Tab Hunter, Rossana Podesta, Umberto Melnati
Country: Italy

A thief with royalty in his blood is able to perform a task that should have won him the hand of a sultan’s daughter. However, he becomes an outcast because of his calling, and finds himself wanted both by rival suitors and his own gang of thieves. Fortunately, he has three guardian angels who will help him in his quest to prove himself.

I’ve always felt that sword and sandal movies have a bit of an affinity with Arabian Nights movies, so it should be no surprise that one of them came out of Italy in the early sixties. It also got a much classier presentation in this country; it came to us via MGM, which made sure the dubbing was far superior than what we could get from a movie that came to us via AIP. Furthermore, the movie is well preserved; my copy is letterboxed and in beautiful Technicolor, which is better than most sword-and-sandal movies I’ve seen. Still, it’s a pretty tepid affair; it rehashes a goodly portion of the various versions of THE THIEF OF BAGDAD, but it’s a bit too juvenile for my tastes, and lacks the sense of magic that permeated those earlier movies. The presence of Tab Hunter as the hero only makes the movie that much fluffier and blander. It is interesting to see Antonio Margheriti working in a different mode here, and MGM even bills him as such, without using the Anthony Dawson nom de plume that was often used to try to hide the foreign origin of his movies. I find this less confusing than his science fiction films, but rather uncompelling, and not as much fun as it would like to be.

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