In one of his enforced breaks from filming Othello, Welles contributed a bold outline sketch for Cesare Borgia to this strikingly handsome historical drama, filmed in Italy on actual locations wherever possible. Alas, his is virtually a cameo performance, and the plot focuses less happily on Power as a soldier of fortune, determined to bury his peasant origins, who agrees to serve as Cesare's ruthless hatchet man. Much of the film is given over to his drearily prolonged crisis of conscience, resolved when he is taught a lesson in selfless humanity by the elderly duke (Aylmer) whose domain he is committed to destroy and whose young wife (Hendrix) he is busily seducing. It nevertheless remains visually splendid throughout; there's a fascinatingly detailed siege sequence (courtesy of Leonardo Da Vinci); and Everett Sloane chips in with a lively display of roguishly amoral villainy.
Cast and crew