In this poker-faced absurdity the Duke of Ferrara adopts the Zorro gambit, pretending to be a fop, so the Borgias won't suspect he means to fight them with the enormous cannon he's building in his cellar. This business of the cannon ('Jupiter') is the sort of dream one of Freud's more humorous patients might have made up, though it's of a piece with the extraordinary men's costumes, designed by Leisen himself; with the nude male statuary discreetly decorating the ducal estate; and with Paulette Goddard's demonstrations of passionate agitation, not least when she first claps eyes on Jupiter. Otherwise, Lucrezia and Cesare are on form ('Remove his tongue and an arm'), suggesting the idea of incest as clearly as Paramount would then permit. Traces of Leisen's intermittently fastidious directorial personality remain, though the notion of fastidious camp may be too paradoxical to sustain.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Cyril Hume, Michael Hogan, Clemence Dane|