Friday, November 30, 2018

Saturday matinee FXM style

After watching TCM's Saturday morning lineup tomorrow, you could switch over to FXM and watch another appropriate movie, Legions of the Nile, at noon.

Ettore Manni plays Coridius, a Roman legionnaire in Egypt. The name of the actor should give away that this is one of those European sword and sandal productions that Fox picked up the US distribution rights to. In this case, the movie is mostly Italian, with Spanish location shooting. Anyhow, after engaging in a brief battle, Coridius goes to Alexandria, then capital of Egypt. He's looking to see Marc Antony (Georges Marchal), carrying a message from Octavius (later Augustus) that Marc and his mistress Cleopatra (Linda Cristal), who rules Egypt, are going to get their asses kicked if they try to revolt against the power of Rome.

But the Egyptians have no desire to see a Roman legionnaire, so Coridius has to bide his time at an inn that hosts gladiators. There he meets Berenice and the two fall for each other. But there's a catch: Berenice is actually Cleopatra in disguise; the queen is going gout among her subjects so she can see what's really happening. Needless to say, she's going to be none too happy when Coridius shows up at the palace looking for Antony.

Along the way, Coridius has come into some slaves, and when his life is in some danger after getting into the palace, they're able to help him out. Or something like that.

One of the big problems with Legions of the Nile is that it's been panned and scanned, and dubbed into English for the American distribution. Or, the distribution that was delayed by several years because Fox didn't want anything to compete against the Elizabeth Taylor Cleopatra which was already in production at the time.

In its butchered state, Legions of the Nile comes across as a Saturday matinee version of history: perfunctory and younger people who like action movies may like it, but not particularly great. I haven't seen the original, so I don't know how that compares.

I don't think either version is on DVD as far as I could tell.

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