The Flame and the Arrow
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Burt Lancaster’s megawatt grin and acrobatic athleticism light up this grandly entertaining swashbuckler. He tumbles, vaults, and swings his way through the role of a Robin Hood-esque rogue who executes dazzling feats of derring-do as he and his rough-and-ready band of mountain men launch a rebellion against the occupying German gentry in 12th-century Italy. The filmmaker’s powers as an aesthetician are on full display in the exquisite Technicolor compositions, including one particularly striking moment of Tourneurian shadow play: a climactic duel in the dark wrought in finely shaded chiaroscuro.
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