A demon bestows on a self-righteous working photographer's camera the power to smite from the Earth "evil-doers". Naturally, the indignant photographer turns his new weapon on, one by one, ... See full summary »
A demon bestows on a self-righteous working photographer's camera the power to smite from the Earth "evil-doers". Naturally, the indignant photographer turns his new weapon on, one by one, his entire village, beginning with the wealthy or illustrious. Soon, the poor he is so supposedly so enamored of become his victims too, so rife with impatience and contempt is he, that the slightest flaw is cause for smiting. Inevitably, he embarks on a task to destroy everyone. Written by
Rossellini had a wry sense of humor that showed up particularly in L'AMORE and his life of Francis of Assisi. Unfortunately for him, film making is a commercial art, and when people want to see a film by Roberto Rossellini, they want a drama. So this comedy, which owes a lot to E.T.A. Hoffman and Ernst Lubitsch (the preface even borrows from Lubitsch' DIE PUPPE) confounded the audiences. They expected a serious, small scale tragedy, and so didn't laugh. They stayed away and the film vanished for almost half a century. If you wanted a black comedy, you went to see a Billy Wilder film. Rossellini went back to doing what his audiences expected of him.
It's a pity. This is not a ground-breaking film for Rossellini, but it is a beautifully photographed and well-acted comedy with some wonderful pick-up shots.
If you see this movie, I suggest that you go in without any expectation of seeing a Rossellini film. Just give it the chance that you would give a film by some one you've never heard of before. On those terms, I expect you'll enjoy it a lot.
Aren't those the terms we should offer every movie?
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