Released in 1969, SETTE BASCHI ROSSI was an Italian/West German production, which is set against the violence and chaos of the Simba revolution in the Belgian Congo. The movie opens with a violent execution of a group of mercenaries that have been captured by rebels and also a rape of a young French Journalist by a gang of Simba soldiers, who is subsequently held prisoner in the village where the Simbas are stationed, one of the Mercenaries a German Captain, Brandt played by Sieghardt Rupp (who also made an appearance in A Fistful of Dollars) escapes the execution and manages to make his way back to his head quarters where he is rebuked by his Colonel in chief who wants to know how he managed to escape the execution and leave his comrades behind and also is further taken to task for leaving important papers behind. Civil war and unrest has ravaged the countryside and many of its inhabitants are either fleeing or have already been mercilessly butchered by the cruel and sadistic Simba’s who show no compassion even towards women and children. Brandt assures his Colonel that he can return to the village retrieve the papers and also rescue the woman. The Colonel reluctantly agrees as the papers contain delicate information about the movements of the Mercenaries and also the identities of their employers. Brandt’s past record shows that he is not capable of leadership so the Colonel orders an African American Captain named Loriwood to take charge of the mission and lead an unsavoury group of Mercenaries, back into the Jungles of the Congo this annoys and frustrates Brandt, who seems to abhor any man, woman or child that has been born black, but he agrees to go and try and put right his mistake. Filmed in Ethiopia, SETTE BASCHI ROSSI, which was also known outside of Italy as THE RED BERETS, SEVEN RED BERETS and CONGO HELL was directed by the screenwriter Mario Siciliano who made his directorial debut with this movie and it can be said that the movie does have certain similarities to DARK OF THE SUN which was released one year previous and even contains a train sequence. The movie is an action picture but also contains a fairly strong storyline.


The music for the movie is the work of the highly underrated Italian Maestro Gianni Marchetti, who although did not find international fame via his film music still has attained something of a cult following in more recent years. The vibrant and pulsating musical themes that the composer produced for the movie are laced with more than a hint of ethnic African sounds, harsh but rhythmic percussion for example introduce the composers score in the track entitled AFRICAN DRUMS and this throbbing and highly charged atmosphere continues throughout the entire soundtrack, with brief respites and breaks for the odd melodic moment the score being as affecting as it is infectious. The soundtrack was originally released in 1969 on a CAM records long playing vinyl album (MAG-10 121) which contained just seven cues from the work which was on the B side of the release. The A side contained selections from another of Marchetti’s glorious soundtracks, a Spaghetti western score COWARDS DON’T PRAY. Marchetti was born in Rome, Lazio on September 7th 1933, he worked on approximately 40 films which included documentaries and shorts as well as feature films in his career and although he is not as well known or familiar with film music collectors as other Italian composers such as Cipriani, Nicolai, Morricone, Ferrio etc, he produced an impressive array of scores for a diverse collection of movies all of which had varying subject matters. His talents however were not restricted to writing for the silver screen; Marchetti also contributed music to all of the songs that had lyrics by Piero Campi, which were performed by the likes of Adriano Celentano, Katyna Ranieri, Nicola Di Bari and others. The composer passed away in Rome on April 11th 2012 after suffering from a long illness.


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