Film scores

Soudtrack review: Sette contro tutti (Francesco De Masi – 1978)

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Sette Contro Tutti AKA Seven Rebel Gladiators is a 1965 Italian historical drama film. The ruthless Roman tribune, Vadio, joins forces with the evil Morakeb to take over the throne of Aristea, usurping King Krontal and stealing away his lovely daughter in the process. Meanwhile, Marco Aulo, now a Roman centurion, comes to Aristea to learn where his legions war funds have gone. Vadio has him framed for treason and is thrown into the arena to fight a group of six formidable gladiators. During the fights, Marco refuses to kill those he defeats until finally, he himself loses after exhaustion takes its toll. Admiring this man, the six warriors join him and together they escape Vadio’s clutches and plot to free the kingdom from the two conspiring killers. I like this plot. The score was written by Francesco de Masi, one of my favorite Italian composers.

The “Main title” is just as awesome and nostalgic as I would imagine it. This is the sound, this is the atmosphere, and this is the joy that a Western score should bring. The main theme has that stride, that riding feeling and the fanfare sound that made this genre famous. I know this pace and joy won’t remain for the duration of the score but this is how it should begin. I check again the plot of the movie and decide to ignore it because to me “Sette contro tutti” is a Western score.

As expected suspense soon takes over and while listening to “Ambush” I realize what a big influence the Italian Western composers had on film music in general. I recognize the instrumentation from that cue in the few current Western scores and it’s a nice legacy. We also get the infamous harmonica which rarely misses from such a composition. The cues dealing with Goliath are silly and fun. The more I listen to this score the more the historical / gladiator plot doesn’t make more sense. This is a score for Western film lovers, that’s for sure. This is what Ftrancesco de Masi knows how to write (and he’s one of the few who has been doing it even before Morricone) and this is what we get.

“The arena” with its two parts quiets down my thoughts and invades me. The music is so good that it makes me pay attention to it rather than think coldly and objectively about the roots and influences of what I’m hearing. The composer goes deep and thick and some of the cues I would just like to listen with the best possible audio equipment so I could decompose them and feel and breathe each touch of an instrument. “The seven escape” sounds as if it was taken straight out of a Fantozzi movie. I laugh hard a this charming cue.

“Sette contro tutti” has everything. Everything you could wish for and expect from a great western score that is. Don’t except epic and sweeping melodies that you would associate with historical gladiator dramas. Just forget about the plot and enjoy a lovely little gem that will make you laugh, worry and dream.

Cue rating: 82 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 17 / 42

Album excellence: 41%

Highlights:

Main Titles

The Arena – Part 2

Dakar’s Whip

The Seven Attack – Part 1

The Seven Attack – Part 2

Throne-Room Fight

Imprisoned

Morakeb’s Death

Final Fight

Marcus And Vadio Fight

Finale

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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