FLIX PIX (194) “Vittorio de Sica Explores YESTERDAY, TODAY AND TOMORROW”


(directed by Vittorio de Sica, 1963)

*** (out of 5)


> This romantic trilogy from Vittorio de Sica has been on my “Classics TO SEE” list for quite a while.  It took home the best Foreign Language Oscar at the time.  Trying streaming Netflix at my friend Suki’s for the first time, she was not adverse to taking a chance on an Italian language film, so we gave it a try.

. It is a clever conceit: Marcello Mastroianni is well-matched with Sophia Loren playing different love matches in three discrete segments. It’s a big job to differentiate themselves clearly between the three, and these great actors were every inch up to the job. The camerawork and costuming are delightful to observe throughout, but the film suffers from the best segment coming first.

. The second part (ANNA OF MILAN) is a bummer of a story- and the briefest, which is a good thing. In it, Sophia is a superficial married woman toying with her disposable lover Marcello on the side, but he is wise enough to see her plain, when the time comes, though of course, he has to learn the hard way.

. The final segment (MARA OF ROME) is molto caldo, telling the tale of a prostitute who has intoxicated her impressionable young neighbor- a young fellow who was just about to enter the seminary, when his hormones start suggesting a more worldly alternative.

. But the opening and most amusing segment (ADELINA OF NAPLES) tells the story of a devoted couple, about to have their second child. Thanks to Marcello’s profligate ways, he and his fiery young bride Sophia live up to their ears in arrears, hiding assets when an unyielding creditor comes round to confiscate them. It is time to pay the piper. One debt finally escalates to the point of an active court case, and since the scoundrel signed the unpaid debt in his wife’s name, she is the one faced with jail time for fraud.  There’s just one catch: Italian law dictates that a convicted pregnant woman can get a deferral until six months after she gives birth, to provide time to suckle and wean the infant.

. The solution? Keep getting pregnant! Every time the police come to collect her Adelina has yet another note from the doctor verifying a new pregnancy. The really funny part comes when Marcello, the undisputed master Italian lothario, is just too exhausted to perform in bed any more. Most of the humor in this one is derived from playing against type, and poor, haggard Marcello is a sight to see in this state. He is horrified! Appalled! Terrified the word will get out that he is no longer king of the bedroom, the next time the cops come to collect his wife and, for the first time, she is not pregnant.

. Much fun, this!


© Kevin Paul Keelan and lastcre8iveiconoclast, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kevin Paul Keelan and lastcre8iveiconoclast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


About KPKeelan

Fool, Philosopher, Lover & Dreamer, Benign TROUBLEMAKER, King and Jester of KPKworld, an online portal to visual and linguistic mystery, befuddlement and delight.
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