In the late 1930s, in Ferrara, Italy, the Finzi-Contini are one of the leading families, wealthy, aristocratic, urbane; they are also Jewish. Their adult children, Micol and Alberto, gather... See full summary »
Vittorio De Sica
Barbara gets secret plastic surgery in Switzerland in an attempt to save her marriage to Mark, but he doesn't seem interested in meeting her. She checks in to a ski resort to wait for Mark,... See full summary »
Retired professor of American origin lives solitary life in luxurious palazzo in Rome He is confronted by vulgar Italian marchesa and her companions: her lover, her daughter and daughter's ... See full summary »
Historical evocation of Ludwig, king of Bavaria, from his crowning in 1864 until his death in 1886, as a romantic hero. Fan of Richard Wagner, betrayed by him, in love with his cousin ... See full summary »
Alain Revent, a seductive and refined man, derives a peculiar satisfaction from debasing his wives. The first, driven to the brink of despair, throws herself out of a window. Enlisting the help of an equally perverse casual acquaintance, Dino, the "handsome brute" proceeds to emotionally torture his second wife, Nathalie. The sadistic plan is picked up on by Officer Leroy who suspects the truth. ... See full summary »
WHAT DID STALIN DO TO WOMEN? (Maurizio Liverani, 1969) **
A typical late 60s oddity, this fragmentary, heavy-handed political satire (a creation of one of its lead actors, Benedetto Benedetti, here playing himself!) deals with the rise of Communism in Italy following the end of WWII. The misleading title suggests that it was intended more as exploitation (with the two leading ladies often shown lounging about in scanty attire) than a genuine political statement, time capsule, or even a straight character study.
Helmut Berger, the nominal star of the film, actually has little to do and, in any case, he is overshadowed by Benedetti's quirky performance as his best friend, a misguided party member who copies his idol in every way, down to wearing his "uniform", having a closet full of moustaches and, in true Communist fashion, given to touring the countryside in a ramshackle cow-driven carriage! The film does have a garish sense of style going for it and succeeds in being amusing in fits and starts: Benedetti gets his sexual kicks by having Russian surnames whispered in his ear by his mistress Margaret Lee; the latter has a hammer and sickle (the Russian emblem) and a Nazi swastika painted on her bottom and is prone to dancing on the bedsheets (with Stalin's face imprinted upon them) while singing the Crows' song from DUMBO (1941)!; Benedetti also conducts an illicit affair with Solveig D' Assunta in a crypt-like basement which also contains an effigy of Stalin, etc. When following Stalin's death, the Kruschev administration downplays his importance, Benedetti first dresses up as Leon Trotsky and then, at the very end, leaves for Vietnam to keep in touch with his Communist roots! A subplot involving a party member who is also a porn film-maker on the side adds to the fun. All in all, however, the film is just too frustratingly uneven to emerge a success in any tangible way.
By the way, Ennio Morricone's music here seemed to me to prefigure some cues later found in his own score for Brian De Palma's THE UNTOUCHABLES (1987)!
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