The main story combines bits of Giovanni Boccaccio's own life (maybe and maybe not) with three of his most fabulous stories of love. It has Boccaccio following Fiametta to a country villa ... See full summary »
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William A. Seiter
The main story combines bits of Giovanni Boccaccio's own life (maybe and maybe not) with three of his most fabulous stories of love. It has Boccaccio following Fiametta to a country villa where she and five other women---The Contessa, Pampinea and three villa girls are hiding following the rape of their home city, Florance, Italy, by the Duke of Lorenzo. The recently-widowed Fiametta spurns overtures of love offered by the philandering Boccaccio who, in an effort to win her, spins two of his stories: The first is "Paganino the Pirate", a spicy tale of a young wife, married to an elderly gent, who prefers astrology to martial bliss, permits herself to be captured by a young pirate, to teach her husband a lesson. The second tale is "Wager on Virtue", concerning an elderly merchant,who loses faith in his beautiful young wife, on the strength of circumstantial evidence present him by a daring young rogue, who has previously goaded him into a bet on his wife's virtue, or lack thereof. The ... Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Five years after making "Letter From An Unknown Woman", Louis Jourdan and Joan Fontaine appeared together again in this film based on three of the 100 stories making up Boccacio's classic collection "The Decameron". All three deal with lovers and their problems. With a good cast of actors (Geoffrey Terle - the spy master from Hitchcock's "The Thirty-Nine Steps", Joan Collins, and Binnie Barnes among them) it takes full advantage of the still existing Renaissance buildings and streets to be found in Italy. And as such it is a pleasant enough comedy. Interestingly enough, the beginning showing soldiers trudging in the Italian countryside, and describing warfare and plague, is certainly not building the right atmosphere for a merry movie - but it is in keeping with the actual start of the book. The ten people who are telling the stories (five men and five women) are fleeing the plague in a city and are in the countryside amusing themselves.
Renaissance Italy has not been the subject of that many films in American and England. The Borgias are covered in "Prince of Foxes" and "Bride of Vengeance". Savanerola's attempt to reform Florence appears in the silent classic "Romola". Michaelangelo and Pope Julius II are dealt with in "The Agony and the Ecstasy". The German invasions of the 13th Century are covered in "The Flame and The Arrow". St. Francis of Assisi and Pope Innocent III are covered (sort of for the Pope) in "Brother Sun, Sister Moon". Those six films and this one seem to be it. No doubt more Italian made movies dealt with the figures of the Renaissance, but for some reason they never attracted American and English audiences. It seems to be our loss.
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