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The Bishop's Bedroom (1977)

La stanza del vescovo (original title)
Mario (Tognazzi), a rich and eccentric war hero befriends Marco (Dewaere), a loner with a sailboat and takes him home to meet his estranged wife Cleofe (Lia Tanzi Gabriella) and sexually ... See full summary »

Director:

Dino Risi

Writers:

Leonardo Benvenuti (screenplay) (as Leo Benvenuti), Piero De Bernardi (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Ugo Tognazzi ... Temistocle Mario Orimbelli
Ornella Muti ... Matilde Scrosati in Berlusconi
Patrick Dewaere ... Marco Maffei
Lia Tanzi Lia Tanzi ... Landina - fiancé of Maffei
Gabriella Giacobbe Gabriella Giacobbe ... Cleofe - wife of Orimbelli
Katia Tchenko ... Charlotte
Karina Verlier Karina Verlier ... Germaine (as Karine Verlier)
Franco Sangermano Franco Sangermano ... Mazzoleni - the Examining Magistrate
Max Turilli Max Turilli ... Angelo Berlusconi (as Marcello Turilli)
Piero Mazzarella Piero Mazzarella ... Brighenti (as Pietro Mazzarella)
Renzo Ozzano ... Warrant Officer Gambino
Francesca Juvara Francesca Juvara ... Martina
Giuseppe Brugnaro Giuseppe Brugnaro
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Storyline

Mario (Tognazzi), a rich and eccentric war hero befriends Marco (Dewaere), a loner with a sailboat and takes him home to meet his estranged wife Cleofe (Lia Tanzi Gabriella) and sexually repressed sister in law Matilde (Muti). Mario confesses his love for Matilde and so ensues a love triangle. Written by Ørnås

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Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Crime

Certificate:

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Trivia

Italian censorship visa # 70003 delivered on 16-3-1977. See more »

User Reviews

Forgotten classic of the Italian '70s Dream Factory
23 June 2009 | by lor_See all my reviews

This Dino Risi film is a classic, which apparently went over the heads of my fellow IMDb commenters. They have apparently lost touch with the fever dreams of cinema, the world of Cocteau and all the other European masters, the flights of imagination that made us buffs in the first place. I read here with wonder about a film that could not decide on its genre -it wasn't a neat, spoon-fed package designed to pull the viewer's strings on cue. You know: John Avildsen meets Stallone, for that first crucial bout. No wonder Lina Wertmuller, the supreme filmmaker of the '70s, is virtually forgotten, well -at least no longer appreciated today.

I will leave the My Weekly Reader world of writing synopses to others: IMDb seems intent on creating a legion of retards scribbling 1000s of idiotic play-by-play capsules, or strings of nonsensical "Keywords" -watch the damn movie yourself! This film adaptation of Piero Chiara's novel set in 1946 on Italy's coast with Switzerland is carefully tailored as a vehicle for its iconic trio of stars, all performing in a quasi-deadpan fashion that weaves a subtle charm. Ugo (who starred memorably in another Chiara adaptation Come Have Coffee With Us) is perfect as the ne'er-do-well, Abyssinian war vet who attaches himself like a barnacle to our previously freewheeling protagonist (a device familiar in later films like Bill Murray in What About Bob?); Patrick Dewaere, a vagabond, former conscientious objector during WW II, is the audience surrogate with a girl in every port, conjuring up a pure naif right out of Orson Welles' Isak Dinesen film The Immortal Story. Completing the topline is of course Ornella Muti -the face that still is the most breathtaking in modern Cinema, on a par with the Garbos, Oberons and Hepburns (both) from the classic age. Her pivotal character is underwritten, but I believe that is on purpose, as it adds to the mystery and fable-like quality of the piece.

What's wrong with a film daring to challenge the viewer, scene by scene, to determine for oneself the level of seriousness implied? The best movies are ones that have enough degrees of freedom, not only for the characters but for the audience as well, to be open-ended and open to INDIVIDUAL reactions. Stop making All-Time lists and complaining about which film is in or out of IMDb's Top 250 -think for yourself people! Manipulating the mood is not Dino's forte -rather he concentrates here on creating a mismatched male combo worthy of his classic '60s work: The Easy Life and a film I always give him credit for (though he apparently was only a helper), The Success, with Ugo giving Gassman a run for his money and Dewaere a perfect correlative to Trintignant.

I saw The Bishop's Bedroom in an English-dubbed version, and the performances were universally strong enough to surmount that technical drawback. Armando Trovaioli's score is just right, even including what I can only describe as Ornella's "masturbation leitmotif" - a charming and evocative little recurring theme. The genius Franco Di Giacomo, who has done classic work for Argento and Bertolucci, captures the Lake Maggiore locations beautifully and timelessly -it should be noted that he shot Muti's wonderful debut film in 1970.

The point here is that Italy was cranking out great films like this one ROUTINELY in the '70s: the works of prolific helmers like Bolognini, Scola, Monicelli plus many young Turks; it all came to a crashing halt circa 1983 when the local actors' union won a victory at long last mandating direct sound dialogue recording for cinema. This overdue update of technique singlehandedly killed Italian creativity just as surely as CGI has killed the wonder of Harryhausen stop-motion animation in Hollywood of late -all in the name of "progress". Sure, Nicchetti, Troisi, Amelio, Moretti and later Salvatores and Tornatore brought a bit of New Wave to the Boot but the factory system with its glittering stars was dead. Laura Morante can only make so many movies before she needs a rest! The final irony is that Italy's Gower Gulch equivalents, aka Joe D'Amato and a dozen Z-directors of the Quentin Tarantino slumming brigade, have their junk lovingly adored by today's so-called film buffs who ignore the true maestros.

While watching The Bishop's Bedroom I wondered what Hollywood director could pull this off so effortlessly? Welles came to mind immediately, as did the greatest of all transplants Billy Wilder. His unsung Avanti was a similar classic made in the '70s, but by the time he got to Marthe Keller in Fedora the touch was gone. Perhaps a reincarnated Mitchell Leisen -my all-time favorite from the Paramount stable, could have made it work.

I had the distinct privilege of interviewing Sophia Loren in NYC 20 years ago anent a tribute at MoMA to Vittorio De Sica. I remember asking her which filmmakers she admired the most, apart from those (De Sica & Ponti) who had shaped her career, and she immediately replied Dino Risi, citing his creativity and urbanity -in a word, class.


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Details

Country:

Italy | France

Language:

Italian

Release Date:

18 March 1977 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

The Bishop's Room See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color (Telecolor)
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