Massacre in Rome (1973) starring Richard Burton, Marcello Mastroianni, Leo McKern, John Steiner directed by George P. Cosmatos Movie Review

Massacre in Rome (1973)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Richard Burton in Massacre in Rome (1973)

Rome Goes for a Burton

As Word War II is edging closer to an end the Nazis in Rome are preparing to hold a parade in Rome. For a group of Italian partisans it is the perfect opportunity to strike and they plant a bomb in a trash can on the route of the proposed march. Things go as planned and their actions lead to the death of 33 Nazi soldiers but it is not with out its consequences. Orders from high above come down that for every one German who was killed 10 Italians must be executed whether guilty or not.

There are many aspects of war; the strategy, the action, the compassion, the revenge and so on and in truth more often than not war movies tend to just focus on the action. "Massacre in Rome" is different as whilst it delivers some action it is more interested in humanity and sacrifice as well as the chain of command. Basically "Massacre in Rome" is not just another war movie but it is just another war movie which doesn't quite work.

Now I am no historian but it doesn't take a movie buff to guess that in adapting this true story in to a movie changes were made some times caused by casting. For example Richard Burton is cast as Lt. Col. Herbert Kappler, a real Nazi who is reported to have been cold blooded and zealous when it came to his job but here is portrayed as war weary and less evil. It isn't just Burton as other characters don't ring true and director Cosmatos employs various typical elements to attempt to create feeling such as when we watch a cold hearted Nazi going about his business whilst listening to an Aria, a scene interwoven with someone being beaten senseless under interrogation. Basically it is all a bit too familiar for my liking, as if Cosmatos was called in to direct because he knew how to employ various war movie cliches.

But in fairness there is a more interesting side to "Massacre in Rome" as it looks at humanity during war as well as the chain of command. Without giving too much a way we not only see those who sacrifice themselves for the greater good but we also see how for those in the army unless they obeyed orders their fate could have been worse.

What this all boils down to is that "Massacre in Rome" does have some good aspects but it is all a bit too laborious for my liking with aspects which just feel too cliche.