The Invincible Masked Rider (1963)

The Invincible Masked Rider (1963)
aka L’invincible cavaliere mascherato
Article 5590 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 12-2-2018
Directed by Umberto Lenzi
Featuring Pierre Brice, Daniele Vargas, Helene Chanel
Country: Italy / France
What it is: Buckled swashes

A corrupt lord in Spain hatches a scheme to get a rival’s fortune by killing him and forcing the rival’s daughter to marry his own son. However, a heroic masked rider stands in his way…

Despite the constant references to “Robin Hood” in the movie, the obvious model for this one is Zorro; our hero even has a signature sign he carves on his foes. This being the case, I was expecting that this title would turn out to be one of those false alarms; the Zorro story (as well as the Robin Hood story) really doesn’t have much in the way of fantastic content, and I was expecting that someone would mistakenly classify it as such due to the world “invincible” in the title. However, there are some touches to this movie that increase the fantastic content a bit; in one scene, the hero seems to disappear, reappear and teleport, and though that may be the imagination of the man he’s fighting, it nonetheless gives a supernatural twinge to the action. Furthermore, the hero is dressed head to toe in black, and in the fight scenes it almost looks like his opponents are fighting a shadow. Yet for me, the most striking element of the movie is that, if my imagination hasn’t gotten the best of me, it might be a strange adaptation of Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death”; consider the otherwise odd subplot involving the plague and the fact that it ends with a costume ball. This brings up the question as to whether the hero is, in fact, an ordinary human; when he refers to his homeland as his place where your troubles will go away, I find myself wondering if this place exists on Earth. Granted, this may all be my imagination going wild, but I will say this much; these touches of the fantastic are far more interesting than the humdrum story.

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