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Divorce Italian Style (1961)

Divorzio all'italiana (original title)
A married Sicilian baron falls in love with his cousin and vows to wed her, but with divorce illegal he must concoct a crime of passion to do away with his wife.

Director:

Pietro Germi

Writers:

Alfredo Giannetti (story), Ennio De Concini (story) | 4 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 11 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Marcello Mastroianni ... Ferdinando Cefalù
Daniela Rocca ... Rosalia Cefalù
Stefania Sandrelli ... Angela
Leopoldo Trieste ... Carmelo Patanè
Odoardo Spadaro Odoardo Spadaro ... Don Gaetano Cefalù
Margherita Girelli Margherita Girelli ... Sisina
Angela Cardile Angela Cardile ... Agnese
Lando Buzzanca ... Rosario Mulè
Pietro Tordi Pietro Tordi ... Attorney De Marzi
Ugo Torrente Ugo Torrente ... Don Calogero
Antonio Acqua Antonio Acqua ... Priest
Bianca Castagnetta Bianca Castagnetta ... Donna Matilde Cefalù
Giovanni Fassiolo Giovanni Fassiolo ... Don Ciccio Matara
Ignazio Roberto Daidone Ignazio Roberto Daidone
Francesco Nicastro Francesco Nicastro
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Storyline

Ferdinando Cefalù is desperate to marry his cousin, Angela, but he is married to Rosalia and divorce is illegal in Italy. To get around the law, he tries to trick his wife into having an affair so he can catch her and murder her, as he knows he would be given a light sentence for killing an adulterous woman. He persuades a painter to lure his wife into an affair, but Rosalia proves to be more faithful than he expected. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A delightfully daring plan to give marriage a surprise ending! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Italy

Language:

Italian

Release Date:

17 September 1962 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Divorce Italian Style See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Co. System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Stefania Sandrelli said in a 2011 magazine interview that she still has the bikini she wore in the film in her possession. See more »

Goofs

When Ferdinando writes the anonymous letter to himself, the picture he draws is completely different between shots regarding the antlers and the pen's thickness. See more »

Quotes

Ferdinando Cefalù: Have you really got another headache?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Melrose Place: Divorce Dominican Style (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Una furtiva lacrima
from opera "L'elisir d'amore"
Music by Gaetano Donizetti
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Classico!
27 August 2008 | by pauliebleekerSee all my reviews

Definitely a classic film, but not just an Italian classic! "Divorzio all'italiana" centers itself around Ferdinando Cefalù (Mastroianni), a 37 year old baron in a small town. Although he's a baron, his life is not completely perfect as his father has squandered much of their money, and his extremely clingy wife Rosalia stands between him and the only thing he loves, his 16 year old cousin Angela. To add salt to the wound, 1960's Italy does not allow couples to divorce, which leads Ferdinando to seek desperate measures. After a town scandal erupts, when a woman murders her cheating husband to protect her honor, Ferdinando is inspired to set up his wife with a lover in order to kill her and "protect his honor." The rest of the movie chronicles Ferdinando's attempts to find someone who would fit the bill.

"Divorzio all'italiana" is a satirical look at Italian society and its seemingly backward laws which force people to do stupid things and its fallibility at justice. In its social commentary of Italian laws/society, Concini, Germi, and Giannetti (the writers) create well fitted, stereotypical characters that are much needed in order for the message of the film to get across. Ferdinando plays the evil nobleman, Rosalia as the annoying wife, Angela as the desirable secret teen lover, etc. The beauty of the story not only lies in it's scathingly funny humor, with Ferdinando's clever plotting and hallucinations of killing his wife, but also in its ability to transcend time. Nowadays there are no laws that forbid divorce in most societies, but even though that crucial point does not relate to modern audiences, the film is still able to conjure emotions for the characters' plight. Another great thing about the film, is the idea of a protagonist character with typically antagonist characteristics. Ferdinando is definitely a bad man, but the story plays with the audience in making them want Ferdinando to succeed in his plot. To add to the underlying theme of the film, the failure of Italian laws, is the theme of "justice" whether it be from the law or from a simple reversal of fate. Definitely watch the film up to the very end, as it closes with an ironic yet justified twist of fate for the characters involved.


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