Laying on the Missouri-Arkansas border, the neutral Border City, its female mayor and city council, take no side in the ongoing Civil War and they're prepared to hang any troublemaker, Yankee or Confederate, who stirs the townsfolk up.
Abel Davis is a criminal, hunted in Italy. The police are closing in, so he and his pal Raymond arrange to flee back to France with Abel's wife, Thérèse, and their two young sons. Abel and ... See full summary »
Jenny Lamour wants to succeed in music hall. Her husband and accompanist is Maurice Martineau, a nice but jealous guy. When he knew Jenny is making eyes at Brignon, an old businessman, in ... See full summary »
The first to die in an epidemic of meningitis in Vera Cruz is a French tourist. His wife Nellie, detached and indifferent, feels little grief and realizes that her coldness is her own doom.... See full summary »
Rafael E. Portas
Carlos López Moctezuma
Women wait anxiously at a minehead in Capodarso, Sicily. Their men are underground. The mine is closing and the miners refuse to come up unless the owner relents. After three days, they ... See full summary »
A mule cart crosses the countryside. Two bandits push the driver off and, when he resists, kill him. The bandits steal the mules... The town of Capodarso, Sicily. The Baron doesn't want ... See full summary »
Upon her release from prison for a murder she didn't commit, a woman finds that her younger sister has been placed in an orphanage. Determined to do whatever it takes to get her out, she ... See full summary »
Italy, 1630. The widower Pasquale loses his job as a cobbler. In search of food for his twelve children, he and a poor companion disguise as mendicant monks and knock for help at the castle... See full summary »
The first of 19 titles directed by Germi, this film is impressive; mostly for the very solid direction of the actors. The main character trio also deserves special mention for the most notable acting featured. They are played by Roldano Lupi (whereas this performance of Lupi's is perhaps as impressive, or is more impressive, than in Il Dellito di Giovanni Episcopo, (directed by Alberto Lattuada) which is to be released next year), Marina Berti (whose simple but eloquent beauty probably has never been so well-explored) and Ernesto Almirante. As its title hints, the film takes on the tone of a moral fable. It may be compared with the tone of the more sophisticated work of Robert Bresson, and later, with that of Kieslowski (A Short Film About Killing). Stylistically, it is impossible not to link this production with neo-realist films for the massive use of locations. Otherwise, three perspectives differentiate it from neo-realist films: Firstly, its clear accomplishment is with the deft, cinematic representation of generic conventions; in which case, the fact that it's a suspense film seems to provide a kind of answer to American noir films. And it does so in a closeness more intense than in the work of Antonioni (e.g., Cronaca di un Amore), which is a characteristic trademark of Germi. Secondly, the film evokes a visual style that is indicative of being very self-conscious. Technically, this is accomplished by the beautiful shots/counter-shots made with frontal camera and fast editing, during the unique dialogue between Pietro and Andrea. (However, the intensive use of back shots, in the idyllic sequence that Pietro had his first intimate contact with Linda, resounds quite dissonantly with the style of the rest of the film.) Thirdly, like in classical cinema, there is a focus on the psychological aspects of the main characters, that engender the own narratives and which force the social commentaries and milieu to a background position. Set in the modern metropolis, the film documentary prologue with a voice-over narration (a characteristic present in other films that Germi directed thereafter, e.g., In Nome della Legge) that claims that in modern cities people who are physically proximate lack awareness of each other. It is important to note that the storyteller's only interest in the crime at the center of the plot is for the product thereof, i.e., a large sum of money that Pietro carries around with him. Critics could argue in hindsight that choosing not to describe the crime is a weakness at best (and possibly a fatal plot hole at worst). However, others may find cleverness in the fact that the film's narrative takes no interest in describing the crime for its own sake; thus relegating it to a certain imposing, nagging obscurity (i.e., the 12,000-pound elephant in the room). Regardless of one's preference, in this sense, the film differs from the typical Hollywood approach. Like Hitchcock's technique, the suspense is built between the spectator's conscience of the culpability of Pietro, and the characters' lack of consciousness of the same. The film's tacit critique of modernity seems sometimes fragmentary and not organically integrated with the narrative at all. That is the case for its accusation of bureaucracy in the situation the new couple asks for their wedding agreement, in a public office, where of there being irrationality in the realm of rational bureaucracy.
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