Riccardo Freda

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Riccardo Freda
Born (1909-02-24)24 February 1909
Alexandria, Egypt
Died 20 December 1999(1999-12-20) (aged 90)
Rome, Italy
Occupation Film director

Riccardo Freda (Alexandria, Egypt, February 24, 1909 – Rome, Italy, December 20, 1999) was an Italian film director. He was born to a Neapolitan family. He left studies in Milan in 1933 and entered the Experimental Center for Cinematography and he soon began work as a screenwriter for directors like Goffredo Alessandrini and Raffaello Matarazzo. Best known for his horror and thriller movies, Freda had no great love for the horror films he was assigned, but rather favored the epic sword and sandal pictures being inspired by the literary classics of Hugo and Pushkin. Unlike other directors of the period like Mario Bava and Antonio Margheriti, Freda had worked with high budgets and obtained egregious results. Freda's Sins of Rome (1953) was one of the first Italian peplums, predating Steve Reeves's "Hercules" by four years, and his classic Giants of Thessaly (1961) was theatrically released one year before Ray Harryhausen's famous Jason and the Argonauts. He directed Kirk Morris and Gordon Scott in two classic Maciste films in the sixties, in addition to directing several spy films, spaghetti westerns, historical dramas and World War II actioners.

He never finished either of the two horror films he was assigned in the 1950s ("I Vampiri" and "Caltiki"), but rather allowed his cinematographer Mario Bava to complete them. Bava's great effects work on Caltiki in particular launched him on a directing career of his own in 1960. Thus many fans regard Freda as Mario Bava's mentor in the film industry.

Freda's greatest horror films were his two 1960's titles, The Horrible Dr. Hichcock (1962) and The Ghost (1963), both of which starred Barbara Steele, but he really enjoyed doing the adventure films a lot more. He directed Anton Diffring and the legendary Klaus Kinski in giallos later in the decade, and then pretty much retired from filmmaking in 1972, emerging from his retirement in 1981 (at age 72) to direct one last slasher film, Murder Obsession (aka Fear).

He died in 1999 in Rome of natural causes (at age 90).


  • In the Country Fell a Star (1939)
  • The Adventuress from the Floor Above (1941)
  • Don Cesare di Bazan (1942)
  • The Whole City Sings (1945) (Italian:Tutta la città canta)
  • Non canto più (1945) (Translation: I Can't Sing Any More)
  • Black Eagle (1946) (Italian: Aquila nera)
  • Guarany (1948)
  • Les Misérables (1948) (as Robert Hampton – U.S. prints)
  • Il cavaliere misterioso (1948) (Translation: The Mysterious Rider)
  • O Caçula do Barulho (1949)
  • Count Ugolino (1949)
  • Son of d'Artagnan (1950) (Italian: Il figlio di d'Artagnan )
  • Vedi Napoli e poi muori (1951) (Translation: See Naples and Die)
  • La vendetta di Aquila Nera (1951) (Translation: Revenge of Black Eagle)
  • Il tradimento / Treason (1951) aka Double Cross
  • La leggenda del piave (1952) (Translation: The Legend of the Piave River)
  • Spartaco / Spartacus (1953) aka Sins of Rome (as Robert Hampton)
  • Teodora, imperatrice di Bisanzio (1954) aka Theodora, Slave Empress
  • Da qui all'eredità (1955) (Translation: From Here to the Inheritance)
  • I vampiri / The Vampires (1956) aka The Devil's Commandment (as Robert Hampton) co-dir. by Mario Bava
  • Beatrice Cenci (1956)
  • Agguato a Tangeri (1957) (Translation: Trapped to Tangiers) as Robert Hampton
  • Nel segno di Roma (1959) (Translation: The Sign of Rome); aka Sign of the Gladiator (uncredited)
  • Agi Murad il diavolo bianco / Agi Murad, the White Devil (1959) aka The White Warrior (as Robert Hampton – U.S. version)
  • Caltiki – The Immortal Monster (1959) ( Italian: Caltiki – il mostro immortale) (as Robert Hamton) co-dir. by Mario Bava
  • I giganti della Tessaglia (1960) aka The Giants of Thessaly
  • I mongoli (1961) aka The Mongols (uncredited)
  • Maciste at the Court of the Great Khan (1961) (Italian: Maciste alla corte del Gran Khan) aka Samson and the Seven Miracles of the World
  • Caccia all'uomo (1961) (Translation: Manhunt)
  • Maciste in Hell (1962) (Italian: Maciste all'inferno) aka The Witch's Curse (as Robert Hampton)
  • The Horrible Dr. Hichcock (1962) (Italian: L'orribile segreto del Dr. Hichcock / The Horrible Secret of Dr. Hichcock) aka Raptus (as Robert Hampton)
  • Le sette spade del vendicatore (1962) (Translation: The Seven Swords of the Avenger) aka The Seventh Sword
  • Oro per i Cesari (1963) (Translation: Gold for the Caesars) (uncredited)
  • The Ghost (1963) (Italian: Lo spettro) (as Robert Hampton)
  • Il magnifico avventuriero (1963) (Translation: The Magnificent Adventurer) aka The Burning of Rome
  • Giulietta e Romeo (1964) (Translation: Juliet and Romeo)
  • Les Deux orphelines (1965) (Translation: The Two Orphans)
  • Coplan FX 18 casse tout (1965)
  • Roger la Honte (1966)
  • Coplan ouvre le feu à Mexico / Coplan Opens Fire on Mexico (1967) aka Mexican Slayride (as Robert Hampton – Italian version)
  • La morte non conta i dollari (1967) (Translation: Death Doesn't Count the Dollars) aka Death at Owell Rock, aka No Killing Without Dollars (as George Lincoln)
  • Double Face (1969; Italian: A doppa faccia) aka Liz and Helen (as Robert Hampton)
  • La salamandra del deserto (1970) (Translation: The Desert Salamander)
  • L'iguana dalla lingua di fuoco (1971) aka The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire (as Willy Pareto)
  • Tragic Ceremony (1972) (Italian: Estratto dagli archivi segreti della polizia di una capitale europea / Taken From the Secret Police Archives of a European Capital) aka Tragic Ceremony at Villa Alexander (as Robert Hampton)
  • Superhuman (1979)
  • Murder Obsession (1981) (Italian: Follia Omicida) aka Murder Syndrome, aka Fear, aka The Wailing (as Robert Hampton)

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