Riccardo Freda – Il cavaliere misterioso AKA The Mysterious Rider (1948)



However trivial – or downright ridiculous – the plot may become, Freda shows a mastery of sheer cinematic style that puts most of the more highly-touted Italian directors to shame. Like Minnelli or Sirk, Mizoguchi or Ophuls, Visconti or Fellini, he is in love with the visual and sensuous possibilities of the camera itself. The breathtaking decor and costumes (by Vittorio Nino Novarese, who went on to dress the most elephantine of Hollywood epics) are as strong a dramatic presence as the actors themselves. That’s no slight against the cast: Gassman was as great an actor as Marcello Mastroianni; Sanson and Canale are as strong as they are sensual, as gutsy as they are glamorous – a world away from the insipid sex objects that decorate most action movies! Continue reading