Director: José Luis Monter
Mya Communication

Mya Communication really deserves an award. Not only have they successfully picked up where the now-defunct NoShame Films distribution company left off, but they have since catered solely to lovers of Euro films (mostly the Italian ones). The giallo, horror, western, and sex comedy genres have been given a new lease on life in America thanks to Mya’s commitment. Another favorite genre of Mya’s is the Peplum film -- better known as “sword and sandal” to Stateside aficionados.

One such peplum title recently released by Mya Communication is THE REVENGE OF THE CRUSADER. Written by Riccardo Freda (no stranger to the genre, but also very familiar to the world of horror), the tale is more along the lines of a romantic adventure than a sword and sandal epic. A confrontation with a group of brigands brings a wounded Count Sigfrido di Treviri (ATOM AGE VAMPIRE’s Alberto Lupo -- in a rare good guy role!) to the tender loving care of Genoveffa (Mariá José Alfonso), the daughter of the local Duke of Brabant. Over time, the Count and Genoveffa fall in love and marry. But, the honeymoon is a short one since the Count heads off to join the Crusades shortly thereafter. During his time away, the Count’s counselor, Golo (Stephen Forsyth), develops the hots for the Countess -- and, when the wise lass refuses his somewhat psychotic advances, the acting Commander-In-Chief imprisons her and sentences her to death. With any luck, the Count will return just in the nick of time…

While it is unlikely to wind up on every Peplum fan’s must-have list, THE REVENGE OF THE CRUSADER has a number of notable sequences. Some of these scenes suggest that Riccardo Freda may have worked behind the camera as a director. Another memorable moment is an axe-to-the-noggin moment (courtesy of Stephen Forsyth) that foreshadows Mario Bava’s HATCHET FOR A HONEYMOON (which also starred Forsyth). On the whole, there’s enough drama and action here to keep the interest of even the most traditional of families and viewers, but at the same time, it may not be enough for the more “experienced” Italian movie maniacs.

Mya Communication presents THE REVENGE OF THE CRUSADER under its original title, GENOVEFFA DI BRABANTE, in a non-anamorphic 1.85:1 ratio. The presentation itself is very nice, with some solid contrast and standout colors. The DVD carries only the original Italian mono mix and comes with removable English subtitles (which contain a few errors here and there). As best I can tell, this one was ever released in the States -- thus, the lack of an English track is not an oversight -- but the Italian audio comes through just fine.

THE REVENGE OF THE CRUSADER is also a barebones affair, and there are no special features to be found on this release. However, when you consider how rare of a film this is and the fact that Mya went to the trouble of mastering and releasing it at all, it’s nothing to complain over. Although I do wish to lodge a complaint about this non-anamorphic bit…(Adam Becvar aka Luigi Bastardo -