What can you say about a film as well made as anything of it's day and also the most outspoken movie endorsement of the reviled Mussolini (one photo at Fascist H.Q.) government.
In a little Italian town in 1922, we kick off with Church bells against the dawn sky line (cf. Blassetti's La TAVOLA DEI POVERI) and pretty soon we're into the divisions in the town.Right thinking fascists like Dr. Giachetti's family vs. the rather shadowy gangster socialist element Young Brambilla and his brothers band up with the local comic barber,and when the nasty socialists stoning the barber shop injure the kid inside, black shirts, with his big brother Mino Doro prominent, form up in front of it. One of the film's several set piece confrontations.
We get a good view of life in the old town with it's stone arches and stairs, the middle class homes, the Psychiatric hospital staffed by nuns, the chemist's shop, the local land owner treading the grapes and the lecherous school superintendent getting ink spilled on him.
Finally the locals, who fill trucks with "Duce" and "Mussolini" written on the side, join the March on Rome.
Striking camera work.Martelli's career goes from Francesca Berrtini to DOLCE VITA. He takes advantage of the processing, making the figures gathering on the fountain part of it's striking, black silhouette or the candles and lamps adding detail in the blacked out home, as they are lit. Sound editing is less skillful, with the track out lasting picture a couple of times to no effect.
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