German DVD cover
|Directed by||Lamberto Bava|
|Produced by||Lamberto Bava|
|Written by||Gianni Romoli|
Kim Rossi Stuart
|Music by||Amedeo Minghi|
|Editing by||Piero Bozza|
|Running time||200 minutes (2 parts)|
|Budget||Over 5 billion Italian lira|
Fantaghirò 2 (aka The Cave of the Golden Rose 2) is the second television film in the Fantaghirò series, directed by Lamberto Bava and originally aired in 1992 as a two-parter (and so is known in certain releases as Fantaghirò 3 and Fantaghirò 4). Most of the principal cast of the previous film returned for this installment. The story of Fantaghiro 2 tells the continuing adventures of the titular princess (Alessandra Martines), daughter of a king without a male heir (Mario Adorf), who fights for the the heart of a prince (Kim Rossi Stuart) against an the jealous evil witch (Brigitte Nielsen) who has cast her love spell over him.
Following the events of the first film, Princess Fantaghirò and Prince Romualdo are due to be married. The evil Black Witch, queen of a neighbouring Dark Kingdom, is disgusted by their love and wishes to destroy it, and to this end she kidnaps Fantaghirò's father. The couple decide to hold off their wedding, and Romualdo leads their army to save Fantaghirò's father. On the journey to the Dark Kingdom, Romualdo and his men encounter Forest Elves and their Queen, who force them to submit to a series of tests to prove that their intentions are pure. Romualdo passes and the army continue on their way. They eventually reach the borders to the Dark Kingdom where they make camp for the night before attacking the castle. As they are resting, the Black Witch (disguised to look like Fantaghirò) arrives and seduces Romualdo to kiss her.
Elsewhere, the real Fantaghirò has decided to secretly go to the Dark Kingdom on her own. She cuts off her hair and travels with her horse Golden Mane. Along the way she encounters bandits led by the Lemon Gobbler, but she manages to escape. She soon arrives at Romualdo's camp, which has been left abandoned. Fantaghirò enters the Dark Castle and learns that Romualdo's men have all been thrown in the dungeon. She negotiates with the Dark King to have a single duel between Fantaghirò and the Dark Kingdom's champion to decide the victor, with the losing kingdom submitting to the other. The Dark King agrees. Unknown to Fantaghirò, the Black Witch's magical kiss has erased Fantaghirò from Romualdo's mind and caused him to fall desperately in lustful love with the witch herself. Fantaghirò is horrified to discover that she has to fight her beloved, who does not recognise her.
While the duel is going on, the Black Witch's minions Bolt and Lightning rebel against their mistress. Bolt poisons the Black Witch, and when she falls asleep, they release Romualdo's men from the dungeon. Cataldo and Ivaldo subdue Romualdo, stopping him from killing Fantaghirò. Everyone quickly flees from the castle, taking the Dark King with them as hostage. Everyone manages to escape the Dark Kingdom except Romualdo, who runs back to the Dark Witch, and Fantaghirò, who goes after Romualdo. Fantaghirò and the evil witch then face-off, with Fantaghirò emerging victorious after a battle of wits, destroying her adversary. The Dark King is unmasked as being Fantaghirò's father, subdued by the witch by the use of her hypnotic powers, and now that the spell that had been placed on him is broken, the group return to their kingdom.
However, Romualdo's memories have not returned to him. Fantaghirò, with the help of the White Witch, recreates the events of the previous film where they crossed paths for the first time. Romualdo starts to regain his memories but in doing so, it is revealed that a piece of the Black Witch has been hiding in his mind, and the witch appears and transforms Fantaghirò into a lowly creature off-screen. The White Witch comes to their rescue by using Lighting (who has transformed into an arrow) to finish-off the Black Witch. Romualdo then guesses correctly that Fantaghirò has been turned into an ugly toad, and upon kissing her, the two are reunited again.
- Alessandra Martines as Fantaghirò
- Kim Rossi Stuart as Romualdo
- Brigitte Nielsen as Black Witch
- Stefano Davanzati as Cataldo
- Tomás Valík as Ivaldo
- Mario Adorf as King
- Lenca Kubálková as Bolt
- Jakub Zdeněk as Lightning
- Karel Roden as Goldeye
- Anna Geislerová as Queen of Elves
- Barbora Kodetová as Catherine
- Kateřina Brožová as Caroline
The film was shot at Bojnice Castle (the witch's castle in the film), Bouzov Castle, a park and an artificial castle in Lednice, and in-studio in Bratislava by a mixed Italian/Czechoslovak crew. Kim Rossi Stuart claimed that he enjoyed the role of the evil Romulado (nicknamed "Romulo" by the film crew), really longing to "get back into the witch's arms", and during the scene of their fight between Romualdo and Fantaghiro, his sword even struck Martines in the head, luckily causing no severe injury. Nielsen said about her character it was "more than a witch, but a queen, the type of Grimilde" from [Disney's] Snow White. Special effects were created by Armando Valcauda, known from his work on the horror film Demons and its sequels. The film premiered on Canale 5.
Fantaghiro 2 proved to be commercial success, receiving the audience of 9,160,000 (30,6%) when first broadcast in Italy. Italian daily Corriere della Sera hailed the film maker Lamberto Bava, saying that he has learnt the lessons of his father and comparing his work to Ridley Scott's Legend, and also applauding Nielsen for her role as the Black Witch. Polish weekly Tele Tydzień gave it three stars out of five.
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