Luigi Batzella

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Luigi Batzella (San Sperate, 27 May 1924 – San Sperate, 18 November 2008) was an Italian director, writer and former actor who used numerous pseudonyms. Some of them were Paolo Solvay, Ivan Kathansky, A.M. Frank, Gigi Batzella, Paul Hamus, Dean Jones and Paul Selway. There is some conflicting information on whether his real name was Paolo Solvay or Luigi Batzella. According to the IMDb it's Batzella, according to Gordon Mitchell and Richard Harrison it's Solvay.

Life and career[edit]

Batzella made 15 films in a variety of genres, directing spaghetti westerns (A Pistol for Django, 1971), war films (When the Bell Tolls, 1970), erotic horror (Nude for Satan, 1974) and politically very incorrect Nazi-exploitation (Achtung! The Desert Tigers, 1977, and The Beast in Heat, 1977). He became well-known for working with very low budgets, using stock footage and recycling scenes from one film to another. For example, both Achtung! The Desert Tigers and The Beast in Heat feature footage from When the Bell Tolls. He worked with a number of established B-actors of the time like Richard Harrison, Gordon Mitchell, Brad Harris, Rita Calderoni and Mark Damon. Batzella's directing career ranged from the late 1960s to the late '70s, after which he seems to have retired. Today, he's remembered mostly for his Nazi-exploitation films.

Partial filmography[edit]

  • When the Bell Tolls, aka Quando suona la campana (1970)
A WW II film starring Brad Harris and Brigitte Skay, worth noting for supplying footage for Solvay's later films.
An erotic vampire film starring Mark Damon and Rosalba Neri.
  • Nude for Satan, aka Nuda per Satana (1974)
Arguably Solvay's best film, an atmospheric erotic horror starring Rita Calderoni.
  • Achtung! The Desert Tigers (1977)
A mixture of a straight war film and sleazy Nazi-exploitation, with recycled scenes from When the Bell Tolls.
A Nazi-exploitation vehicle with torture, castration, rape and a simian man-beast. An Italian cash-in on Ilsa: She-Wolf of the SS, The Beast in Heat is now a celebrated cult film in Z-movie fandom. Featuring scenes from When the Bell Tolls.
  • Black Gold Dossier (1979)
An ultra low-budget spy-action film set in an unnamed Middle Eastern country. Again, notable for generous use of stock footage.

External links[edit]