|Index||3 reviews in total|
This is a compelling drama about an Italian family in the 1880's. Papa (Anthony Quinn) closes down the long-standing Ferramonti bakery and informs his two sons Pippo and Mario and daughter Teta that they will have to fend for themselves in future. Irene his daughter-in-law under the guise of reconciling the family feuds maps out a plan to grab the inheritance for herself. Beautiful Dominique Sanda plays Irene as a shy serene young temptress using her charm and personal magnetism to good effect as she manipulates her lover and family members as cunningly as in a game of chess. The fascination of this movie is to watch Irene at work and to anticipate her next clever move. Irene convinces the family that they must at all costs prevent Papa from marrying again as that would certainly mean the loss of their inheritance. Anthony Quinn plays the patriarch as a bitter and arrogant man in search of love and affection (impeccably acted!) Irene sees that her way to the top and the family fortune is ready for her. Good-looking Mario with his smouldering dark eyes is entrapped by Irene's remarkable beauty and she in turn submits to his advances thus misleading the family of her real intentions. It's a completely fascinating drama that is truly absorbing from beginning to end. As in a game of chess, a sudden and unexpected move can change the outcome of the game. A dramatic confrontation near the end of the film sends the Ferramonti family headlong into a new course of action which quickly resolves the problem of the inheritance. Dominique Sanda (Winner Best Actor Cannes Film Festival) is not only a superb actor but has a beautiful presence in all her scenes. I thought the supporting cast were also brilliant in their various roles. I thoroughly recommend this movie, not only for its great acting and talented direction, but also for its lavish presentation.
This superbly shot&acted creation is,like most of Bolognini,unjustly overlooked,while it reaffirms that Italian cinema is loaded with genius besides Fellini,Visconti and Pasolini. The plot is a criticism at the savage nineteenth century capitalism,its cruelty and shallowness,placed in turn of century Rome,dealing with the ruthlessness of the Italian high bourgeoisie in their pursuit of wealth. Old Ferramonti-Anthony Quinn in yet another stunning "tour De force" of his incomparable acting-is a thrifty millionaire,which,after forty years of service,closes down the bakery which brought him wealth at the expense of overworked and underpaid workers and cheated customers. This bitter and ruthless old man is a conservative patriarch and tyrannical father and so totally Quinn:both in real life and in films like The Greek Tycoon,or the more conventional Revenge or A walk in the clouds,nothing suits Anthony Quinn best than being an unbearably rough,strong-willed and dictatorial,yet strangely charismatic "pater familiae". But Ferramonti is at such a degree authoritarian and fond of his money(which he doesn't share not even with his family,not even spends on himself,preferring to live frugally while his millions are piling up)that he negatively influenced the life of his children,now all of them grown up,yet still treated like children by him:Pippo,his most submissive son,is simply cut off from his share,tough he was the only one to work alongside with his father in the bakery and even contributed to the old man's fortune;Mario,the more wild tempered son,became a gambler living out of risky speculation at the stock exchange,enjoying a questionable short term prosperity;while Teta,the family's only daughter ran away from home and married only to escape her father's fits,her marriage to a man disliked by her father making matters only worse.The strange thing is that the old man doesn't have any paternal feelings for his children whatsoever,he is seeing them only as a potential threat,as competitors,as enemies wanting his hard-earned money. Shortly after wards Pippo marries the beautiful Irene,which like him,grew up in a wealthy yet austere environment.Irene is more ambitious than her husband and her marriage starts in a promising way,the couple's financial situation prospering and above that,she manages to reconcile the family. However one soon gets to see this woman's real face-Dominique Sanda,an iconic figure of the seventies,brilliantly mingles a flawless ingénue looks with cool,distant Garbo-style cynicism and manipulative,haunting magnetism in this part-as Irene soon shamelessly starts an affair with her brother-in-law,tough it is first unclear if due to the sexual charisma of this elegant man or just the need to acquire his protection and connections in order to succeed in the Roman high society. She even manages to enthrall the Old Ferramonti,who ends up by loving her more than his children,meticulously planning every attack which step by step takes her closer to the old man's millions(this is actually the only why she married Pippo,knowing that he will be her gateway to a fabulous fortune).Strangely at first,everybody in the family is trusting her and her contacts with the old man,thinking that she can be used as a middle man between the disinherited children and their brutal father. As it happens in love-stories where two or more brothers love the same woman,for instance Brothers Karamazov or Legends of the fall,things will take very dramatic turn,comparable to the films above,Irene managing to destroy,partly unintentional,partly purposely both Pippo and Mario,just trying to control them.Eventually her plans to keep the fortune for herself only will finally be stopped for good by her sister-in-law and her husband who end up as only heirs,ironically they weren't better than her,just "respectable mediocrities". The achievements of this film are countless:besides the good acting of Fabio Testi and Luigi Proietti as Mario and Pippo(two of Italy's most famous and talented actors),only to be overshadowed by the performances of Dominique Sanda and Quinn,who both are depicting the same kind of characters-passionate at an almost pathological scale for money and power,yet cruelly cold and calculating while pursuing their interest,the beautiful interiors of the opulent Italian bourgeoisie and the stunning soundtrack by-who else than Morricone. The only minuses might be that some sets sometimes look somewhat shabby in their nostalgic period-piece style,that gestures are too theatrically overblown and that there is a typically European,uncensored amount of-not too appealing,more destroying the film's beauty than enthralling-nudity. Nevertheless worth watching,both as trip back in visually overwhelming era and as a lesson that capitalistic greed is not necessarily a modern invention.
A charming film, set in 1880's Rome. It's a little different. Dominique Sanda was excellent, mixing a child-like innocent look with the scheming greed of a woman. Her beauty really adds to this film. The sniveling Pippo and Mario, and the pompous Paolo, were pretty good roles. I've never heard of the Italian actors who played them. Anthony Quinn was good, totally becoming his character. The ending, while not shocking, was unexpected. The version I saw was dubbed into English. Something odd about this and other Italian films I've seen. It looks like (from the lip movement) that some of the actors are speaking in Italian and others are speaking in English. Maybe the dubbing and translation was just done that well. This is certainly a film worth seeing once.
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