The Deserter (1970)

A young soldier escapes a seemingly endless war and winds up in the middle of an entirely different battle. Now he’s trapped between the desires of two desperate women.  It’s another lost Greek film found by the folks at Mondo Macabro, who seem to specialize in discovering movies that you never knew about that you suddenly find out you need to own.

Ermina (Franca Parisi, Atom Age Vampire) is trapped in a loveless marriage to a farmer who only cares about getting rich selling moonshine to soldiers. And the other woman (Greek singing star Alexandra Kyriakaki) is much younger and lives in a world of fantasy. They’re both in love with the soldier who has been hiding in a barn and falling for both of them.

I was really struck by how rapid the cuts are in some of these scenes, almost a strobing effect as the emotional anguish increases. This movie has the kind of insane love in it that causes women to pull knives and fight one another in the mud. There’s also a great scene in here when the younger girl casts a love spell to try and keep the soldier all to herself. Gisela Dali — the Greek Bardot — has a brief role here as the witch who aids her.

This film was edited — and perhaps directed — by Bruno Mattei, who remade it in Italy as Armida, a Wife’s Story with Parisi returning to star in the remake.

You can get this on a double blu ray disc along with The Wild Pussycat from Mondo Macabro.

NOTE: This film was sent to us by Mondo Macabro, but that has no bearing on this review.

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