(Some spoilers) Lately I've become more and more interested in Italian films of the fascist period. This little known masterpiece, directed by Nunzio Malasomma, the man best known, perhaps, for directing the classic spectacle "Revolt of the Slaves," confirms my opinion that many of the most memorable themes of Italian film were best put to use before the highly-touted (albeit, for good reason) 1957-1965 period, when the great cogs and wheels of the classic Italian cinema worked their last magic, before at last capitulating to the cultural trends of the U.S. The film is set in 1844. Dria Paola plays Beatrice, a blind woman, who as a child witnessed the brutal murder of her mother, by a bandit with political persuasions. Ten years previously, the wrong man was executed for the crime, and the convicted man's son, who has become a famous doctor, agrees to perform an operation on Beatrice which could restore her vision. At an elaborate country villa, Beatrice resides with her father, a professor, who encourages the doctor to perform the operation. The doctor soon falls in love with Beatrice, but at the same time the real murderer, fearing that she'll receive her sight and be able to recognize him as the killer, comes to the estate masquerading as a doctor, and tries to put the kabosh on things. The operation is performed, and the girl recovers her sight. However, the bandit still has his eyes on her, and although she doesn't recognize him as first, his piercing eyes, which were the only things she saw on that dark gloomy night ten years ago, will at last betray him in a compromising moment. This film is shot with care, the sets tastefully decorated, and the acting very nicely done. Director Malasomma earns his title as "artistic director" which in Italian films was almost the literal job of director, who often had to rely upon his own resources to make a film come out well. Malasomma directed some other costume adventures of note, which I'm trying to locate, so if anyone knows their whereabouts, I hope they would contact me for a trade.
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