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The Law (1959)
"La legge" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  11 November 1960 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 426 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 15 critic

Illicit passions pervade an Italian town, where men gather nightly for the cynical "game of the law."



(novel), , 2 more credits »
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Title: The Law (1959)

The Law (1959) on IMDb 6.8/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Pierre Brasseur ...
Don Cesare
Enrico Tosso - l'agronomo
Donna Lucrezia
Matteo Brigante
Raf Mattioli ...
Francesco Brigante
Vittorio Caprioli ...
Attilio - il commissario
Lidia Alfonsi ...
Gianrico Tedeschi ...
Primo disoccupato
Nino Vingelli ...
Bruno Carotenuto ...
Luisa Rivelli ...
Anna Maria Bottini ...
Anna Arena ...
Anna - la moglie d'Attilio
Edda Soligo ...


Marietta, servant of aristocrat Don Cesare, is the bellezza of an Italian town where men gather nightly in the tavern for the 'game of the Law,' selecting one by lot to boss and humiliate the others. Illicit passions abound: the judge's wife pursues Francesco, son of crime boss Matteo, who is after Marietta (so is her brother-in-law); Marietta wants engineer Enrico for a husband, but he claims he's too poor to marry. So she decides to steal herself a dowry! All this may lead to an explosion...and some changes in who dictates 'the law.' Written by Rod Crawford <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Desire Catches Fire With Lollobrigida and Montand See more »




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Release Date:

11 November 1960 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Law  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


FRF 450,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$1,100 (USA) (20 August 2010)


$17,351 (USA) (27 August 2010)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)
See  »

Did You Know?


Both Carol Baker and Scilla Gabel had been contacted to play Marietta's part. See more »


Spoofed in There's Something About Mary (1998) See more »


Written by Jimmy McHugh
Lyrics by Buddy Kaye
Sung behind credits by The Ames Brothers, U.S. version only
See more »

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User Reviews

flawed, but highly enjoyable
9 April 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Law exists somewhere in the realm between a Hollywood soap opera and a European art film, with a dash of sexploitation.

This film is all about power--how one gets power, how one can use power (to lay down The Law, or lose power, and how power relates to sex. This film is all about sex. Sometimes, it feels like it's all about Gina Lollobrigida's boobs.

The all-star European cast are all good, especially Lollobrigida and Yves Montand, who has the meatiest role in the film, as a complicated local hoodlum who wants his son to become a lawyer, who wants to be the one to lay down The Law, and who very badly wants Gina Lollobrigida, who doesn't want him in the slightest.

Sometimes, the film approaches high camp, such as a couple of odd and unexpected musical numbers, and when Marcello Mastroianni and Gina Lollobrigida romp in the surf amidst a flock of sheep, or when Gina Lollobrigida is strapped to a table by her mother and a couple of jealous maids and whipped (and with a bowl of hot chilis behind her head that's photographed to look like a halo).

It's a gorgeous film to look at. There's Gina Lollobrigida's boobs. And then there's the quaint, crumbling little backwater Italian fishing village, sumptuously photographed in that deep, saturated mid-century black and white. And there's the sea. It looks straight out of a Fellini film.

Jules Dassin's direction is lively and stylish, and keeps the film eminently enjoyable throughout. He veers effortlessly between the comedic and the sinister and the sexy, often in the same scene.

But, although I found the films very enjoyable to watch, I do have some problems with it. It felt sometimes that Dassin was trying to cram in as much of the material from the novel as possible, even when it didn't best serve the film. There were multiple storylines unfolding, but the film's two-hour running time was not enough to accommodate them in any depth. And so the film meandered back and forth between characters and situations without a great deal of focus. I think Dassin would have done well to trim a couple of the storylines entirely, which weren't fleshed out enough anyway.

Still, though, this was solid entertainment. 8/10

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