Review: ‘The American Comrade’

Cinecitta produced some extraordinary films under the Fascists, but the bumbling assortment of cut-outs portrayed in "The American Comrade" make the staff of the famed studio look like a bunch of Ed Wood stooges. Helmer-scripter Barbara Barni has cobbled together a work of staggering ineptitude. Pic sank with all hands locally.

Cinecitta produced some extraordinary films under the Fascists, but the bumbling assortment of cut-outs portrayed in “The American Comrade” make the staff of the famed Rome studio look like a bunch of Ed Wood stooges. Helmer-scripter Barbara Barni has cobbled together a work of staggering ineptitude with caricatures so tired they can’t even raise a laugh. Pic sank with all hands locally.

Young Russian Bolshevik Hogan (Hugh O’Conor) is sent from France to Italy on an anti-fascist mission to speed up the “Revolution,” but is mistaken for a Hollywood color specialist come to Rome to assist in the country’s first Technicolor production. The Italians think the “Revolution” he keeps talking about is the color revolution, which is about the funniest joke in the pic. Barni seems incapable of composing a frame or knowing how to begin and end a scene, and her use of zooms is shockingly clumsy. Irish thesp Hugh O’Conor (“The Young Poisoner’s Handbook,” “Chocolat”) has exhibited talent in the past, but here his clueless Candide is just plain tiresome. Bad post-synching of all the actors doesn’t help.

The American Comrade

Italy

Production

A Gruppo Minerva Intl. release of a Metropolis Film production. Produced by Enzo Gallo. Directed, written by Barbara Barni.

Crew

Camera (color), Ennio Guarnieri; editor, Adriano Tagliavia; music, Paolo Rustichelli; production designer, Marco Dentici; costume designer, Enrica Barbano. Reviewed at Il Labrinto, Rome, Oct. 7, 2003. Original title: Il Compagno Americano. Italian & English dialogue. Running time: 102 MIN.

With

Hugh O'Conor, Nancy Brilli, Tosca D'Aquino, Giulio Base, Augusto Zucchi, Franco Diogene.
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