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 <email@example.com>
This could have been a great movie, but it is almost unbelievable the way in which Dassin looked at Southern (I repeat: SOUTHERN) Italy in the Fifties of 1900. I was a boy, I did not live there, but in that South I spent my holidays. The best holidays I ever had, due surely to my (then) splendid age and to my (then) splendid country.
A young woman dressed like Gina Lollobrigida could never be seen in those years walking the streets of a southern Italian village.
The magnificent place where the movie was partly made is Peschici (Gargano, Puglia). The name Manacore, in fact, was later used for a very elegant and costly touristic place. I spent several holidays there in the Sixties, and (let alone the Fifties!) never saw a woman dressed that way. And, as far as I remember, they did not go to the beach albeit wearing a diving apparatus (complete of snorkel).
And the music in the local festivals (dedicated to saints, with parades, priests, candles and so on) was very different, almost always neapolitan.
Mrs Mercouri and Ives Montand are surely not at their best (to be kind), but we really re- discover a woman which was at most considered a pin-up, and on the contrary was really a great actress: Gina Lollobrigida.
Brasseur is OK, very human and credible. Marcello Mastroianni as usual shows how one can be a great actor with the minimum of mannerisms (or not at all).
A movie which unfortunately aged very badly.
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