Lea, a mature Neapolitan woman who runs a box office in the Lotto in a northern city, has had thirteen children, but all but one have died from abortion or after a few months of life. The ...
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Antonio vive a Laveno, sulle sponde del lago Maggiore e nella vita ha una sola passione: il cinema. La sua grande aspirazione è diventare un attore come i suoi idoli. Quando si decide al ... See full summary »
In Naples, a voice from the skies announces one morning that the final judgment will be at 6 p.m. on that day. What follows is a series of vignettes depicting various people's reactions (or lack there of) to the announcement.
Antonio is married to a very wealthy woman but the sole heir of the family fortune is his daughter. He induce his dying wife to swear in the daughter of remaining "chaste and pure" ( so that she cannot marry ) until his own death.
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The accidental discovery of a big fortune hidden in the apartment of a deceased man will fill the heart of a real estate agent with greed and dreams of a luxurious life, but the neighbours think otherwise.
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The life of singer Carmelo Zappulla is disrupted by the testimony of a repentant who accuses him of being involved in a murder. This is just the beginning of a long legal ordeal that will force Carmelo to fight to prove his innocence.
Senator Pupis feels a strong and uncontrollable urge to grab women's bottoms, a habit than can lead to embarrassment, especially if the woman in question is head of another state and the ... See full summary »
Lea, a mature Neapolitan woman who runs a box office in the Lotto in a northern city, has had thirteen children, but all but one have died from abortion or after a few months of life. The only survivor, Michele, is taken care of by her with morbid affection: she is convinced that she has stolen it from death by negotiating with her, so she is not willing to give it away either to her country or to another woman. When Michele gets engaged with a pretty dance teacher, the mother, to avert her detachment, makes a new sacrifice to Death, suppressing three spinster friends, from which she obtains soap and biscuits. His call to arms comes for his son: to get him back, Lea wants to multiply his sacrificial rites, targeting, this time, a silent maid and the hated girl of Michael. The carabinieri will stop it in time.Written by
Leonarda Cianciulli was a housewife who became one of Italy's most notorious serial killers. She murdered three women and boiled down their bodies to soap. This took place in 1940, and when Cianculli had died in prison in 1970, the case apparently re-gained some attention, leading to the 1977 biopic/horror movie Gran bollito".
The movie, although taking a lot of liberties for the screenplay, provides a (probably) quite accurate depiction of the woman (here called Lea", played by Shelley Winters). She was pregnant more than a dozen of times, but lost all of the children due to miscarriage or due to illnesses shortly after birth. When her only son Michele survived and grew up healthy, Lea, highly superstitious, believed to be in a pact with the devil, and set out to do even most drastic steps, including human sacrifices, to ensure his safety. And there is a lot for her to worry, since Michele is about to be drafted for the military, and there is also another woman in his life, the beautiful Sandra, who causes heavy jealousy in Lea.
This movie is morbid and sickening throughout. Its strength is in the contrast between the normality of Lea's house and the horrible things she does in it. Her behaviour is always friendly, protective, helpful, but at the same time she is cold-blooded, determined, crazy. To add to the creepy atmosphere, all the people who frequent her house are utterly strange, her housemaid is handycapped, her husband is paralyzed, you name it. In an interesting take on the real events, the three murder victims are transvestites, increasing the strange feel of the movie.
Unfortunately there is overall quite little going on and a couple of story lines are not really too helpful. There's a lot of rather irrelevant dialogs and the murder sequences are dragged out far too long, especially the first victim and the whole I'm going to America" thing. It was hard to endure for me and I actually just kept up in the hope that Laura Antonelli as Sandra would show up more often. In fact she does near the end, but her part is quite shallow and serves only to build some tension in the over-constructed finale. Still, her elegant beauty and normality" makes her an anchor in this sea of madness.
Despite the problems of the screenplay, the actors perform very well, especially Shelley Winters as Lea on the thin line between normality and madness. But it's also very surprising to see an actor like Max von Sydow as one of the transvestites, and as mentioned, Italian superstar Laura Antonelli in a supporting role (replacing Ornella Muti on short notice). Another noteworthy aspect is the perfect time period recreation by Caligula" artist Danilo Donati. Although not too graphic, this film is hard to come by in an unedited version.
Gran bollito" is successful at creating a sickening atmosphere and the actors are very good, but all that can't offset the weaknesses of the plot. As a biopic, it is just too superficial and filled with irrelevant subplots, as a horror movie it can only offer its creepy mood, but barely any real tension except for very few scenes. Still, not too bad and watchable if you're into Seventies weirdness.
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