Crossed Swords (1954 film)

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Crossed Swords
File:Crossed Swords (1954 film).jpg
1954 Theatrical Poster
Directed by Milton Krims
Vittorio Vassarotti (Italian edition)
Piero Mussetta
Produced by J. Barret Mahon
Errol Flynn (uncredited)
Vittorio Vassarotti (Italian edition)
Written by Milton Krims
Starring Errol Flynn
Gina Lollobrigida
Cesare Danova
Music by Gino Marinuzzi
Alessandro Dicognini
Cinematography Jack Cardiff
Edited by Derek Hawkins
Vittoria Vassorotti (Italian edition)
Errol Flynn Productions
Viva Films
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates
Running time
82 mins
Country Italy
Language English
Box office 1,331,794 admissions (France)[1]

Crossed Swords is a 1954 Italian made swashbuckler film starring Errol Flynn and Gina Lollobrigida.

It was also known as Il Maestro di Don Giovanni ("The Teacher of Don Juan") and The Golden Blade.[2]


Raniero and Renzo are two friends who have been travelling together for two years, having adventures, fighting duels and womanizing. Raniero is the son of a Duke, and the elder Renzo his Don Juan-type mentor.

They stop a revolution.




Milton Krims announced he was to write and produce a film called The Ninth Man in 1950 based on a 1920 novel by Mary Heaton Vorse set in Italy in the fifteenth centiry.[3][4] James Woolf of Romulus Films was originally announced as producer.[5]

In 1952 it was announced Krims would make The Ninth Man with Errol Flynn in the lead for Constellation Films with J. Barrett Mahon to act on Flynn's behalf behind the scenes.[6]


Flynn self-produced the film (in association with Barry Mahon) in an attempt to emulate the success of The Adventures of Don Juan (1948), which had sold well in Europe on its release by Warner Bros.. John Bash helped Flynn finance the film.[7]

Filming took place in Italy at Cinecitta Studios in Rome with exteriors shot in the village of Lauro.[8][9]

It was the first role for Gina Lollobrigida beyond the Italian market, and her fee was 30 million lira.[2]

The movie was shot in Pathecolor, a new color process developed by Pathe Industries.[10]


The Chicago Daily Tribune said the film "offers very little interest" apart from the photography.[11]

Box office reception was disappointing - Flynn later claimed the film was sold "very badly".[12] Dorothy Kilgallen later wrote that Flynn's share from the film "amounts to quite a pile of bills" but he never received the money because "they're all Washington-bound to defray his staggering tax debt."[13]

The experience prompted Flynn to try another production in Italy, the disastrous William Tell. Shortly after the shoot Flynn's wife gave birth to a baby girl.[14]

During a screening of the film in New York, a woman in the audience killed herself.[15]


  1. 1954 French box office figures at Box Office Story
  2. 2.0 2.1 Gina likes U.S. only as a place to work, Scallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 20 Sep 1953: D1.
  3. Drama: Artist's Story Inspires Anglo-American Deal; Keith Writes Western Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 21 June 1950: A9.
  4. p Full text of The Ninth Man] at Internet Archive
  5. Debra Paget Faithful to Native Roles; Mann Will Spotlight Palmer Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 26 July 1950: A7.
  6. REPUBLIC TO MAKE FILM ON GABRESKI: Flying Ace May Play Himself in Picture Based on Story by Richard Tregaskis Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 30 July 1952: 19.
  7. Pasternak Names Next Jane Powell Musical; Robbins Scores Twice Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 22 Oct 1954: B9.
  8. Tony Thomas, Rudy Behlmer & Clifford McCarty, The Films of Errol Flynn, Citadel Press, 1969 p 196
  9. MOVIES ON THE MOVE!: Did Hollywood create a Frankenstem by making films abroad? Today cameras are grinding like mad in Italy, France, England--and Hollywood's plenty scared MOVIES ON THE MOVE! Berg, Louis. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 16 Aug 1953: I14.
  10. FINANCIAL AND BUSINESS SIDELIGHTS OF THE DAY New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 15 Apr 1954: 45.
  11. Gina Gets Her Man in Film: "CROSSED SWORDS" TINEE, MAE. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) [Chicago, Ill] 11 Oct 1954: b17.
  12. Errol Claims He's Now in Like Flynn With Creditors, Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 04 Mar 1956: E2.
  13. Dorothy Kilgallen: Rubi Ready to Ditch Zsa-Zsa? The Washington Post and Times Herald (1954-1959) [Washington, D.C] 31 July 1954: 4.
  14. Errol Flynn Gets Baby Girl for Christmas Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 26 Dec 1953: 8.
  15. WOMAN KILLS SELF IN MOVIE THEATER Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 25 Dec 1954: 2.

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