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The Spirit and the Flesh (1941)

I promessi sposi (original title)
Lumbardy, Italy, seventeenth century. Renzo and Lucia's love story is jeopardized by Don Rodrigo, a wicked nobleman, who is interested in Lucia. When she refuses his attentions he has her ... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Dina Sassoli ...
Ruggero Ruggeri ...
Armando Falconi ...
Enrico Glori ...
Carlo Ninchi ...
Luis Hurtado ...
Evi Maltagliati ...
Ines Zacconi ...
Franco Scandurra ...
Gilda Marchiò ...
Dino Di Luca ...
Enzo Biliotti ...
Lauro Gazzolo ...
Giacomo Moschini ...
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Storyline

Lumbardy, Italy, seventeenth century. Renzo and Lucia's love story is jeopardized by Don Rodrigo, a wicked nobleman, who is interested in Lucia. When she refuses his attentions he has her kidnapped and brought to a convent whose prioress is a nun as wicked as he is. The two youths will have to go through a lot of misfortunes before being reunited and being able to marry. Written by Salvatore Santangelo <pappagone2@libero.it>

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One of the greatest love stories ever told!

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Drama

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30 October 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Spirit and the Flesh  »

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| (RCA Sound System)

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1.37 : 1
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Version of The Betrothed (1913) See more »

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User Reviews

 
I PROMESSI SPOSI (Mario Camerini, 1941) ***
5 April 2007 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

Alessandro Manzoni's celebrated novel "The Betrothed" is to Italian literature what "War and Peace" is to Russian or "Gone With The Wind" to American. For the record, a 9-hour adaptation for Italian TV made in 1989 attracted an all-star cast featuring Alberto Sordi, Franco Nero, F. Murray Abraham, Burt Lancaster, Helmut Berger, Valentina Cortese, Fernando Rey, etc.!

Anyway, the film version under review is the third cinematic adaptation and it was a lavish affair for its time. Being the only version I've watched and not having read the original novel, I can't judge how faithful it is to the text but it is understandable that contemporary reviews complained that it was compromised by a too-condensed second half; even so the latter stages did indeed feel choppy to me despite the film being fairly long at nearly 2 hours! The elaborate plot - taking in numerous characters and set in several cities over a period of years, covers court intrigues, the persecution of two lovers, the renunciation of love, an outbreak of pestilence (the best sequences in the film) and culminates in a miracle - is meticulously brought to life and the good performances enhance the film's every mood through romance, drama, comedy and action.

Director Mario Camerini previously handled the Vittorio De Sica series of "white telephone" films throughout the 1930s and would go on to make the enjoyable (but hardly definitive) international film version of ULYSSES (1953) with Kirk Douglas and Anthony Quinn. On the other hand, leading man Gino Cervi, best-known as the Communist antagonist to Fernandel's Don Camillo in a popular series of comedies, is a handsome hero here (worlds apart from the gruff and tyrannical monarch in THE IRON CROWN, made the same year!).


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