German DVD cover
|Directed by||Lamberto Bava|
|Produced by||Lamberto Bava
|Written by||Gianni Romoli|
Kim Rossi Stuart
|Music by||Amedeo Minghi|
|Edited by||Piero Bozza|
|200 minutes (2 parts)|
|Budget||Over 5 billion Italian lira|
Fantaghirò 2 (also known as 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).Fantaghiro fights for the heart of Prince Romualdo (Kim Rossi Stuart) against the wicked Black Witch (Brigitte Nielsen) who opposes their pure relationship and has cast her love spell over the prince.
Following the events of the first film, Princess Fantaghirò and Prince Romualdo are due to be married. The Black Witch, an evil ruler of the Dark Kingdom, is disgusted by their love and wishes to destroy it, and to this end she kidnaps Fantaghirò's father. The couple hold off their wedding so Romualdo can lead 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. As they;re resting, the Black Witch, magically disguised to look like Fantaghirò, arrives and gets Romualdo to kiss her. He faints and the evil queen takes him to her castle where she makes him her lover.
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 and friend the White Witch who transforms herself into a goose. Along the way, she encounters bandits led by the Lemon Gobbler, but she manages to escape. When she arrives at Romualdo's camp, she finds it 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 but, Fantaghirò is horrified to discover that she has to fight her beloved, Romualdo, who has been bespelled to forget all about her.
While Fantaghirò and Romualdo are dueling, the Black Witch's minions Bolt and Lightning rebel against their mistress, poisoning her so she falls asleep. Bolt and Lightning release Romualdo's men, who subdue Romualdo, stopping him from killing Fantaghirò. The group flee from the castle, taking Romualdo, as well as the Dark King as a hostage. Everyone's able to escape the Dark Kingdom except Romualdo, who runs back to the Black Witch, and Fantaghirò, who goes after Romualdo. Fantaghirò and the Witch have a face-off, with Fantaghirò emerging victorious in a battle of wits and smashing the Witch into pieces. With the Black Witch "gone", the Dark King is revealed to be Fantaghirò's father, who was bewitched to forget his true self.
However, Romualdo's memories do not return. 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's revealed that a residue remnant of the Black Witch has been hiding in his mind, and the witch reappears to transforms Fantaghirò into a lowly creature off-screen. The White Witch comes to their rescue by shooting 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 the Black Witch
- Stefano Davanzati as Cataldo
- Tomás Valík as Ivaldo
- Mario Adorf as King
- Lenca Kubálková as Bolt
- Jakub Zdeněk as Lightning
- Katarina Kolajova as the White Witch
- Karel Roden as Goldeye
- Anna Geislerová as the Queen of Elves
- Barbora Kodetová as Catherine
- Kateřina Brožová as Caroline
Production and release
Director and producer Lamberto Bava made Fantaghirò 2 in Czechoslovakia to limit the costs. It was shot in July 1992 at Bojnice Castle, Bouzov Castle, a park and an artificial castle in Lednice, and in-studio in Bratislava by a mixed Italian/Czechoslovak crew of over 100. The film's special effects were created by Armando Valcauda, known from his work on the horror film Demons and its sequels, and the costumes were designed by Marisa D 'Andrea. The production cost 6 billion Italian lira.
Kim Rossi Stuart claimed that he enjoyed the role of the evil Romulado, nicknamed "Romul' altro" ("Romul 'other") by the film crew, saying that "naughty second identity" was more fun to play than the "sympathetic cliche" of an honest and fair Romualdo, and especially liking the scenes of him being intimate with Brigitte Nielsen's sultry Black Witch. During the filming of the fight between Romualdo and Fantaghiro, performed with no stunt doubles, his sword actually struck Alessandra Martines in the head, luckily causing no severe injury; Martines went to the hospital while still wearing her costume. Nielsen said her character was to be "more than a witch, but a queen, the type of Grimilde" from Disney's Snow White. Angela Molina, who has both played both the White Witch and the White Knight in the first Fantaghirò, was replaced by Katarina Kolajova for the second film; Kolajova later married Cataldo's actor Stefano Davanzati whom she met on the set.
The film premiered on Canale 5, broadcast in two parts. The first part was originally scheluded for December 21, but was aired one day earlier to avoid the competition of the final episode of the sixth season of crime drama La piovra. The move sparked a "chain reaction" of programs being accordingly shuffled on other Italian channels. Fantaghirò 2 was later dubbed into multiple languages for foreign television broadcasts and released on home video (VHS and DVD) in Italy and in several other countries. The film and its prequel and sequel were recut (reduced and intersected with each other) into a 200-minute compilation film titled La meravigliosa storia di Fantaghirò ("The Wonderful Story of Fantaghirò") in 1995.
Fantaghiro 2 proved to be a commercial success, receiving the audience of 6,601,000 (25.11%) (first part) and 9,160,000 (30,6%) (second part) when first aired in Italy. Polish weekly Tele Tydzień gave it three stars out of five. Italian daily Corriere della Sera hailed the film maker Lamberto Bava, saying he has learnt the lessons of his father and comparing his work to Ridley Scott's Legend, and also applauding Nielsen for her "difficult" role as the Black Witch. Nielsen's character was received so well that the popular villainess returned for three successive chapters of the saga.
In the 1993 sequel, Fantaghirò fights against the handsome but cruel wizard Tarabas (Nicholas Rogers) and his mother, the witch Xellesia (Ursula Andress), to bring back to life the prince Romualdo, turned into a stone statue, and save the child princess Esmeralda.
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