Bruno Desantis is a popular TV showman but Sofia, his wife, has left him. Bruno is still in love with her and tries to call her. Unfortunately, or fortunately, his telephone is out of order...
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Black Journal (originally titled Gran Bollito) is a 1977 Italian drama film directed by Mauro Bolognini. It is based on the real life events of Leonarda Cianciulli, the Italian serial killer best known as the "Soap-Maker of Correggio".
Max von Sydow,
Bruno Desantis is a popular TV showman but Sofia, his wife, has left him. Bruno is still in love with her and tries to call her. Unfortunately, or fortunately, his telephone is out of order and he is forced to go out seeking for one. He ends in a house where he finds three women: Vera, Simona and Betty. The three are so moved by his distress to decide to cure him, to nourish him and, in the end, to love him. Bruno begins to live like a Sultan in his harem. But all the dreams come to an end and he finds himself alone again with his telephone still out of order and he is forced again to go out and to meet other women... who knows? Written by
Three women meet in a mental institution after each of them tried to kill or maim their respective husbands. Pronounced cured after a year, they decide to move in together. The women are in fact the original Domino from 'Thunderball' (Claudine Auger) as Betty, 'Helen of Troy' herself (Rossana Podestá) as Simone and 'The Girl' from 'Doctor Zhivago' (Rita Tushingham) as Vera. Into their luxurious penthouse bursts their neighbour Bruno (Enrico Montesano), popular host of the "Porta Porta" TV show, who has just been left by his wife and is looking for a working phone. At almost the same time their maid decides to leave and Bruno pleads his case to move in. At first the three women agree on account of having motherly feelings for him, later they become both annoyed by and attracted to the new man in their lives. Each one has her own ideas about seducing him, but Bruno is still hung up about his ex.
Obviously based on a play, with most of the action set in a shag pad that looks great on film (or on stage) but would not be very practical in reality. It has one circular room (with a lowered lounge area in the middle) that connects to the front door and 4 bedrooms. Director Georgio Capitani does his best to open the film up by showing the women out on separate dates with Bruno. An extended farcical sequence takes place in a hotel when the three are meeting the sponsor for their new boutique (a womanizing Adolfo Celi). Bruno tags along to disrupt everything and predictably ends up in drag as a Japanese Geisha.
Eventually all three of them secretly begin an affair with him, with Bruno developing a code to let them know which one he wants to rendezvous each night. The feminist nature of the original play "Les Bonshommes" by Froncoise Dorins obviously had to make way for a more masculine point of view for a version starring the popular Enrico Montesano. In typical theatrical fashion Betty, Simone and Vera eventually find out about Bruno's deception and decide to punish him the way it will hurt him most. But in true sit-com style, this comedy ends with a 'here-we-go-again-tag'.
6 out of 10
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