Shot in Havana and Mexico, pic is presumably intended to be a sweeping period study of a bizarre Latin American tyrant in the 1920s but instead wheezes out as a disjointed, boring and superficial exercise in non sequiturs. It’s as if a four-hour mini-series had been patched together as a feature, leaving out every second scene.
It’s a tossup whether the “action” sequences or the yacky dialogue evokes greater tedium. None of the characters is ever explained, and though Gian Maria Volonte does a nice bit of Caligula-like thesping in the central role, his character’s motivations are never explained and his ultimate death is as meaningless as the revolutionaries’ huzzah.
The non-plot loosely concerns a Latin dictator in an unidentified country, one of whose daily sports is signing execution orders. He has a demented daughter who spends her time tied to a bed; a group of Spanish colonials are bullied, one of them a kind of buffoon; and there’s a woman (Ana Belen) who goes into trances, a general (Lopez Tarso) who rebels and an effete Spanish ambassador. But all are skimmed over and remain paper-thin. There is never any onscreen violence, and barely a drop of blood is spilled in the revolution.
This obviously expensive and ambitious film is a total non-starter.