Il Cavaliere Misterioso

Riccardo Freda

Scen.: Riccardo Freda, Mario Monicelli, Steno. F.: Rodolfo Lombardi. M.: Otello Colangeli. Scgf.: Piero Filippone, Nino Novarese. Mus.: Alessandro Cicognini. Int.: Vittorio Gassman (Giacomo Casanova), Maria Mercader (Elisabetta), Yvonne Sanson (Caterina II), Gianna Maria Canale (la contessa Lehmann), Elli Parvo (la moglie del doge), Antonio Centa (fratello di Casanova), Giovanni Hinrich (il grande inquisitore), Tino Buazzelli (un congiurato). Prod.: Dino De Laurentiis per Lux Film. 35mm. D.: 96′. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

After Don Cesare di Bazan and the first Aquila nera, which took Italian adventure films back to their tough, picaresque and dynamic roots, unlike the soft embellished style of the fascist period, Freda completed Il cavaliere misterioso, a story with a much more personal tone and one of his masterpieces. His virtuosity led him to include an original portrait of Casanova (his seventh film, Gassman is the most distinct and credible Casanova ever seen) in a wide-ranging adventure story whose sequences are at times inhabited by an obscure and enigmatic progression of a detective story, an unusual and distressing atmosphere of an almost imaginary story (the scenes in Vienna), not to mention that climax of intrigue and frosty marivaudage which Freda uses to show us his vision of the 18th century. He brightly creates his own personal universe: a world of treachery, plotting and cruelty in which honesty is always lacking, illuminated with elegance. As always in his films, the formal aspect (sets, costumes, photography) is treated with extreme care but never as an end in itself. It is always wonderfully connected to a dynamic conception of the cinematographic story. In this sense the final sequences of the sleigh chase are emblematic as they exploit all of the variations of white. They are extremely charming and communicate, along with their visual splendour, the director’s characteristic bitter and detached style.

Jacques Lourcelles, Dictionnaire du cinéma. Les films, Robert Laffont, Paris 1992

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