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Cast

Credited cast:
Lisa Gastoni ...
Maddalena
Eric Woofe ...
Priest
Ivo Garrani
Nando Gazzolo
Umberto Orsini
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Paolo Bonacelli
Ernesto Colli
Ermelinda De Felice
Vera Drudi
Pietro Fumelli
Paolo Gozlino
Ezio Marano
Brizio Montinaro
Rosita Torosh
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Storyline

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Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R
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Release Date:

22 November 1973 (Mexico)  »

Also Known As:

Madalena a Pecadora  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is best known for having the first appearance of the songs "Come Maddalena" and "Chi Mai" by Ennio Morricone. Both songs were re-recorded and released as the single "Disco 78" in 1977. Chi Mai was later used in the film The Professional (1981) and the TV series The Life and Times of David Lloyd George (1981). See more »

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User Reviews

Fascinating art film deserves a revival
12 July 2010 | by (New York, New York) – See all my reviews

Jerzy Kawalerowicz's forgotten masterpiece, MADDALENA, is famous for its revered Morricone score, but deserves a revival on its own merits. Unfortunately, its lack of availability is easily explained by the current inversion in critical (and film buff) standards. Put simply, Maddalena is unique, and since it cannot be pigeon holed into one of the sale-able Italian genres (gialli, sexploitation, horror, etc.), and lacks the cachet of one of the all-time maestros (Antonioni, Fellini, Germi, Visconti, Pasolini, etc.), it has no place in our video store-mentality modern world.

Lisa Gastoni, one of my favorite actresses of the era (who reached her peak in Samperi's sublime SUBMISSION) takes the title role in uninhibited, full frontal nudity fashion. She's an earth-mother, the type usually reserved for Irene Papas, introduced doing a sexy gypsy dance under the credits, and later tempting our hangdog expression protagonist (Eric Woofe), a priest in doubt over his vocation. Midway through the film the priest even doffs his clerical outfit for civilian clothing, and later he joins Maddalena in the altogether in symbolic rather than sexual trysts on the beach.

The many beach scenes betray Polish director Jerzy's immersion in the style of Fellini for his first Italian film. Kawalerowicz, who was a much-admired art-house stalwart back in the day, though forgotten now, made a huge splash with JOAN OF THE ANGELS, a hit that was even more successful when remade by Ken Russell as THE DEVILS. In MADDALENA Jerzy returns the favor by adopting many of Ken's motifs (mainly from his TV films, especially ISADORA) including the phallic and masturbatory imagery. His use of flash-forwards and repeated footage is a Brechtian element of Maddalena that I didn't like, but overall its surreal atmosphere and imaginative sets are quite stimulating. Maddalena's doppelganger, dressed in white with a blonde wig, appears throughout the film in somewhat cryptic fashion.

Morricone's brilliant score is sparingly used during the 2-hour running time, and in fact the film lags a bit when the maestro's work is absent. His drummer Vincenzo Restuccia gets an unusual nod in the opening credits, and earns it with his spectacular percussion work during the first statement of Ennio's haunting theme.


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