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Four directors tell tales of Eros fit for a 1970s Decameron. Working-class lovers, Renzo and Luciana, marry but must hide it from her employer; plus, they need a room of their own. A billboard of Anita Ekberg provocatively selling milk gives a prudish crusader for public decency more than he can handle. The wife of a count whose escapades with call girls make the front page of the papers decides to work to prove her independence, but what is she qualified to do? A buxom carnival-booth manager who owes back taxes offers herself for one night in a lottery: a nerdy sacristan and a jealous cowboy make for a lovers' triangle. In each, women take charge, but not always happily. Written by
When Mario Monicelli's segment, "Renzo e Luciana", was cut, producer Carlo Ponti offered to finance Monicelli's film as a full-length feature on its own. This was never made. This segment was apparently cut because Monicelli had promised to deliver a "major American star" but failed. See more »
A quartet mini-features from the 4 most prestigious Italian directors must be a rare treat for aficionados, but since shorts sometimes has been designed to experiment maestro's more daring or outlandish innovation, so a 1+1<2 formula is well acceptable for the viewers at least.
Act 1, Monicelli's amiable modern tale of a pair of young newlyweds working in the same factory while conceiving their nuptial facts since it breaches the unfeeling regulation. Monicelli's devotion and affection to the general mass is ubiquitous, the camera follows intimately to record the lovebirds' daily work, diversion and quagmire, and the bittersweet ending is unerringly sanguine which should be the bloodline runs inside the Italian lineage.
Act 2, Fellini's ever-first colour endeavour, surrealistic, sumptuous and luscious fantasy of a moral watchdog's eventual relinquishment towards a sexy bomb (an enormous 50 feet-tall Anita Ekberg), a female-exploitation gag which is constantly overplayed (not inclusively) in Fellini's canon. But visually, Fellini's manoeuvre of projecting different proportioned characters (creates two identical settings with different sizes) is quite nimble without exposing any shoddy clues (except the forged beasts, which is a buzzkill).
Act3, Visconti's pleonastic noble Count whose brothel scandal evokes a major crisis with his wealthy but vindictive wife, a higher-tier pastiche ends up with a sloppy reference of a disparaging stinking rich's gauche prostitute fetish. At any rate Romy Schneider is the best thing in it, pairs with a well-suited Tomas Milian, presents a paragon of bourgeois vulnerability and emptiness.
Act 4, another "prostitute" farce in a rural background, De Sica seduces the world with Sophia Loren's vulgar and crude beauty, a sultry whore will spend one night with the man who guess right of the lottery number, but it turns out to be a mental masturbation joke, quite tedious and a bit offensive.
Apparently this is another patchy miscellany doesn't live up to the test of the time, Monicelli's neo-realistic part (which suspiciously is taken out completely in the original US release) is the standout and quite a pity it didn't make up to a feature-length piece of work which producer Carlo Ponti had promised then.
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