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Max von Sydow,
Rome, 1880. Gregorio has decided to close his bakery, the family business. Then he tells his sons Pippo, Mario and daughter Teta that they will have to fend for themselves. But newly married Irene, Pippo's wife, a beautiful, calculating and ambitious young woman, wants to take over the inheritance. Acting on intelligence, weighing every step and its consequences, she manages to convince the brothers that they must prevent at all costs that his father falls in love again to avoid the risk of losing their inheritance.
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.
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