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Fatal Desire (1953)

Cavalleria rusticana (original title)
In Pietro Mascagni's tragic opera, a soldier returns home from war to reclaim his former fiancée, only to find that she's married someone else in his absence, leading to jealousy, betrayal, and murder.

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, (as F. De Feo) | 6 more credits »
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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Ettore Manni ...
Kerima ...
Lola
...
Virginia Balestrieri ...
Mamma Lucia
Umberto Spadaro ...
Uncle Brasi
Grazia Spadaro ...
Aunt Camilla
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tito Gobbi ...
Alfio (voice)
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Storyline

In Pietro Mascagni's tragic opera, a soldier returns home from war to reclaim his former fiancée, only to find that she's married someone else in his absence, leading to jealousy, betrayal, and murder.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

There is a special kind of payment for "borrowing" another man's wife.

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Drama

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Release Date:

9 January 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fatal Desire  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Color:

(Ferraniacolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Connections

Version of Cavalleria rusticana (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Cavalleria rusticana
Music by Pietro Mascagni
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User Reviews

Cutting to the chase
24 June 2016 | by (London) – See all my reviews

I watched a dreadful black and white print of this little known film on an obscure satellite TV channel yet found it riveting and the final 10 minutes unforgettable, made so by Anthony Quinns performance.

It is not a story of revenge - said to be best enjoyed cold - but, at its end, a life or death fight between two men who were once on good terms, over a woman. Not a tussle in hot blood. Not melodramatic but a grim ashen-faced older man (Quinn), determined, for mixture of reasons-personal pride and honour as a husband, punishment for the younger man's betrayal and, finally, to eliminate a rival for his very desirable beautiful young wife-to fight to the death. The Quinn character accepts his own death as a probability and calls briefly at the home of his aged mother to say a final goodbye. The younger man too, knows that he may die but he too feels aggrieved. Both believe death is a price worth paying. Neither wants to live after losing. For each it is life and the woman-or death. It is completely raw and elemental, and, it hardly needs adding, tragic.

The film's original title "Cavalleria Rusticana" comes from a novel by Sicilian writer Giovanni Verga who specialised in "realist" stories set in rural Sicily. It was later made into an opera parts of which accompany the realistically filmed action-something which works well.

Rather more pertinently in terms of other roles, the beautiful object of these two men's desire, the magnetic Algerian actress Kerima, played a very similar role with Trevor Howard as the besotted male in "Outcast of the Islands" (1951).

Most go through life never having even met let alone been involved with a woman who can inspire such terrible cravings and reckless jealousy, never imagining that extreme beauty may not be benign and pleasurable but dangerous and very possibly life-threatening. In "Lady from Shanghai" Rita Hayworth plays such a character with Orson Wells as the worldly sailor who rebukes himself for not having recognised the danger signals.

Where are they now? Kerima was the wife and is now the widow (since April 2016) of famed British film director, Guy Hamilton


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