The Gadfly (Ovod) (1956)

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The titular Gadfly in this Russian film is the illegitimate son of an Italian cardinal. The time is the 19th century, when Italy is under Austrian rule. The hero rallies his countrymen to battle for Italian independence. After several narrow escapes, the Gadfly is captured and executed by firing squad; in the very last moments, his father finally acknowledges the Gadfly's true family heritage. Oleg Strizhenov is the star of this filmization of Ethel L. Voynich's 19th century novel. The film's impressive visuals are augmented by Dmitri Shostakovich's thrilling musical score. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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