Cast & Crew
In Medieval Italy, rakes Renzo and Raniero, the son of the Duke of Sidona, are on their way back to Sidona after an absence of two years, during which they have pursued numerous ladies. Outside the city, they meet Renzo's former sweetheart Fulvia, who invites them to dally at her estate. Meanwhile, Fulvia's rich, older husband Gennarelli is at the castle listening to Pavoncello, the Duke's counselor, propose a new law whereby, in order to guarantee future manpower to defend the duchy, all men under twenty must marry and produce children or face imprisonment. Francesca, the duke's daughter, and her friends worry about the proposed law frightening prospective suitors away. After Gennarelli returns to his estate and surprises Renzo involved with with his wife, Renzo and Raniero head for the castle where the duke welcomes them with a grand feast. Although Francesca is intrigued by Renzo, she regards him as a bad influence on her brother. At the feast, Fulvia frivolously arranges a joust with Indian sticks between Renzo and Pavoncello. The contest is stopped by the duke after both men are wounded. Afterwards, Gennarelli, angered by Renzo's attentions to his wife, approaches Pavoncello who wants to marry Francesca as an avenue to the duke's throne, but Renzo now stands in his way. Gennarelli suggests using Pavoncello's proposed law to drive Renzo out of Sidona, and they join forces to persuade the duke to sign the edict. Although Renzo continues to pursue Francesca, he is horrified when he hears about the new law and so flees the city with Raniero. Pavoncello, planning to capture Sidona, hires an assassin, Lenzi, to kill Renzo and Raniero and bring two hundred mercenaries to the city. Pavoncello also seeks funding from Gennarelli for his plan to take over not only Sidona, but also many territories beyond. Lenzi orders seven of his men to kill Renzo and Raniero then leaves to hire mercenaries. Renzo and Raniero are eating in a tavern when the assassins attack, but easily defeat them in a sword fight. The two friends then return to the castle to discover why Pavoncello wants Raniero dead. They eavesdrop as Fulvia flirts with her husband, prompting him to reveal his plan to double-cross Pavoncello and take over the duchy. After Renzo and Raniero are discovered and captured, Pavoncello orders Lenzi's army of mercenaries to enter the city, then imprisons the duke and Francesca in their quarters. After Fulvia helps Renzo and Raniero to escape, her servant, Tomasina, tells them how to reach the duke's heavily guarded quarters. Although the duke frightens Renzo by assuming that he intends to marry Francesca, Renzo and Raniero assemble a group of loyal supporters. After Pavoncello captures Renzo, Francesca is persuaded by Fulvia and Tomasina to distract the guards and free Renzo. When she enters Renzo's cell, Francesca hands him a small dagger and tells him how she has used her charms to seduce the guards. This prompts Renzo to ask her to assemble all the women of Sidona in the piazza to seduce the mercenaries. After Francesca leaves, Pavoncello discovers that the guards are missing, assigns Lenzi to take over and tells Renzo that he will hang that afternoon. Later, many women converge on the piazza with food and gifts for the mercenaries and distract them with a great fiesta. Renzo then stabs Lenzi, takes his sword and escapes. Meanwhile, Raniero and his loyal supporters enter the castle and attack the remaining guards. Renzo corners Pavoncello and, after a long sword fight, kills him in front of the throne that he so desired. Renzo then cheerfully submits to marriage with Francesca.
John M. Bash
Nato De Angelis
J. Barrett Mahon
The running time of this film is reported in different sources as being between 82 and 89 minutes; the print viewed ran 83 minutes. The names of some of the Italian actors and technicians, which are incorrectly spelled in the onscreen credits and in reviews, have been corrected from Italian sources. The names of the third assistant director and production manager could not be read on the print viewed and could not be determined from other sources.
The film's pressbook states that exteriors were shot in the eleventh-century village of Lauro, about fifty miles from Naples, Italy. Interiors were shot at Cinecittà, Rome. Crossed Swords was screenwriter Milton Krims's first and only film as a director. The film was also the film production of J. Barrett Mahon (1921-1999), who later was known as Barry Mahon. Mahon also produced Flynn's final film, the 1960 release Cuban Rebel Girls (see below), as well as producing, directing and writing many 1960s exploition films.
Released in United States Summer August 1954
Released in United States Summer August 1954