Who is Leo Tolstoy and what does he have to do with The White Warrior? Tolstoy, 1828-1910, also known as Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, was a Russian writer who many consider one of the greatest writers of all time. He is best known for War and Peace,1869, and Anna Karenina, 1877. Tolstoy’s last work, Hadji Murad, is a short historical fiction story partly published posthumously in 1912 and fully published in 1917. The White Warrior is a 1959 Italian production loosely based on Tolstoy’s Hadji Murad. Steve Reeves stars as Agi/Hadji Murat, “The White Warrior”, a 19th-century Chechen chieftain who leads a band of warriors from a small Turkish tribe against Czarist Russia. The word “white” in the title refers to his white warrior attire.
In researching The White Warrior I saw on IMDB that Reeves was listed as uncredited in a 1963 Italian comedic war movie directed by Sergio Corbucci(director of the original and best Django movie: Django, 1966) called The Shortest Day. I’d never heard of the movie and don’t know why Steve Reeves is listed as an uncredited cast member. What I found out by researching further was that it was a parody of American war movie The Longest Day which featured an ensemble cast including John Wayne, Sean Connery, Richard Burton, Robert Mitchum, Henry Fonda and quite a few others. The Shortest Day featured dozens of well-known mostly Italian actors, including Reeves, who worked for free in cameo roles to avert the bankruptcy of Titanus, an Italian production company. Titanus ended up ceasing productions by 1964 but reorganized ten years later on a smaller scale. The company is still around today but producing mostly television work.
Watch The White Warrior for free here.