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Italian Films of the 1960s


Mac_the_Nice
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And this is to include movies of the mid to late Fifties . . . 

Tonight, for about the fourth time since first seeing it at a university film society around 1966, we took opportunity to see Pietro Germi's Seduced & Abandoned once again. Film critic, Dave Kehr describes it . . . 

"Pietro Germi's maliciously funny examination (1964) of the marriage rites of Sicily, done up in a crowded, cartoonish style that suggests the work of Preston Sturges. The wit may be closer to Evelyn Waugh—the jokes are cruel and corrosive, and why not when the subject is sexual hypocrisy? Stefania Sandrelli, as the girl in desperate need of a husband, maintains a beatific calm in the midst of the manic goings-on." 

Marcos Aquado at IMDb agrees: 'Pietro Germi is one of the unsung heroes of the film world. "Divorce Italian Style" catapulted him from total obscurity to partial obscurity, at least for a while. In his native Italy, naturally, he is highly regarded, considered, quite rightly, one of the best. But even then, once rarely hears Germi's name in the same breath with Fellini or De Sica, Rosellini or Antonioni. He was a sort of Preston Sturges.' 

There was a big difference between the films of Germi and the above mentioned list of 'auteurs': this director's movies came from solidly scripted screenplays. There was little horsing around with improvisation, cinematic experimentation, no flying by the seat of the pants extemporaneous filming. Someone here (Tiki Soo?) was complaining that she found European films of this era to be a big bore, relevant to those times but not to these, and hence very dated. 

Well, much as I hate to admit it, that is to an appreciable extent true, even for some of those films that still remain greatly beloved for many of my generation, La Dolce Vita and 8 1/2 for two. But it would not apply to films Fellini shot from a script, like La Strada, Nights of Cabiria, one or two by Antonioni--and most decidedly to none from Pietro Germi. 

Everything about Seduced and Abandoned (just like Divorce Italian Style) is a masterpiece. The print we got via NetFlix from the Criterion Collection is pristine in quality and for the first time, I was able to appreciate the exquisite cinematography which has nothing of the slipshod, handheld 'indie' look to it at all, despite being shot on location in the buildings and streets of a small town in Sicily. The comic elements could not be more outrageously hilarious, the satire on Sicilian society more biting, and the drama as it unfolds just builds and builds and builds in its intensity. The concluding scene so neatly, so wittily wraps up all the preceding elements, that all you can do is sit back, kiss your fingers and sigh, "Ah, Perfezione!"

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La Strada and Nights of Cabiria are pretty good. I really like that Guiletta Masina Also Divorce, Italian Style and about a handful of other comedies. I know it's not Italian but King of Hearts is exceptional. And how could you not add Two Women too!

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Sid Caesar, 1950, THE BICYCLE THIEF....

 

 

I doubt we've ever seen an actress so adept at comic posing and mugging as Imogene Coca, with the exception of Madeline Kahn, of course. Your Show of Shows. I'll risk the cliches to say, "There'll never be anything like it." And, "We laughed till our sides were aching." How we did look forward to those broadcasts--what night of the week was it?

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La Strada and Nights of Cabiria are pretty good. I really like that Guiletta Masina Also Divorce, Italian Style and about a handful of other comedies. I know it's not Italian but King of Hearts is exceptional. And how could you not add Two Women too!

De Sica. Yes, of course, and that means not to forget Marcello and Sophia in Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow. But this was a director like Germi, who did work with a script that wasn't being dashed off day to day on the set--"auteur" style (as seen dramatized/confessed on screen in 8 1/2). And yes, again to Ms. Soo, in my view also, Fellini and Antonioni, Goddard and Truffaut did finally wear that method out. Though some of it was fun, while it lasted. So long as a director had a uniquely talented composer to work magic for the score, as Fellini had Nino Rota, then, for my money it did work. Listen: just a harp and the sound of Trevi Fountain.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8G3bBNUgENg

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To this day there's never been a TV comic to match Sid Caesar, and that was one of his best skits.

 

 

Thank you for posting the link to GALLIPACCI. :)

 

(I'm sure you realize he is using fake foreign languages, all made up as he went along.)

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De Sica. Yes, of course, and that means not to forget Marcello and Sophia in Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow. But this was a director like Germi, who did work with a script that wasn't being dashed off day to day on the set--"auteur" style (as seen dramatized/confessed on screen in 8 1/2). And yes, again to Ms. Soo, in my view also, Fellini and Antonioni, Goddard and Truffaut did finally wear that method out. Though some of it was fun, while it lasted. So long as a director had a uniquely talented composer to work magic for the score, as Fellini had Nino Rota, then, for my money it did work. Listen: just a harp and the sound of Trevi Fountain.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8G3bBNUgENg

Ah yes, YTT was great and I don't know how I could forget The Bicycle Thief? The one with the little boy and his dad looking for their bicycle/job transportation. There are more but I'm not that knowledgeable about Italian films but I usually record all foreign films and then watch them because I need to reverse them often to read all the captions and then actually pay attention to what the actors are actually doing on-screen. I was overjoyed when I watched a film about a jewish man who had to go to work for an elderly woman who sold thread or ribbons or something and he was supposed to kill her.... then I think a Czech film about a young railway worker who blows up a Nazi munitions train. Don't remember the name of either of those but keep checking the schedule.

 

OBJ

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Thank you for posting the link to GALLIPACCI. :)

 

(I'm sure you realize he is using fake foreign languages, all made up as he went along.)

 

As they say, I was born at night, but not last night.   B)  Caesar's ability to improvise a score of pidgin tongues was one of his most distinctive talents.

 

Of course there was a time when I thought Chico Marx was an Italian, so I wasn't necessarily born with all my radar fully in place. :ph34r:

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  • 1 year later...

I'd like to see Kiss the Girls and Make Them Die with mike connors, terry-thomas and dorothy provine (who does an excellent british accent) and mission stardust with lang jeffries as Perry Rhodan. ain't italian but that essy persson is one hot extraterrestrial babe. :)

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Mac said: ...."auteur" style. And yes, again to Ms. Soo, in my view also, Fellini and Antonioni, Goddard and Truffaut did finally wear that method out. Though some of it was fun, while it lasted.

 

(the famous) Italian & French films of the 60's are like Universal horror films to me- a bit of a bore. While good, typically one viewing is enough for me. Their place in film history should not be disputed, but are just a tad bit overrated, imho.

 

TWO WOMEN is an exceptional film in that I never have to see it again, several scenes are burned in my memory forever. 

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Here are some that I would recommend ....

 

La Dolce Vita (1960)

Rocco and His Brothers (1960)

L'avventura (1960)

Two Women (1960)

Il Posto (1961)

La Notte (1961)

Bandits of Orgosolo (1961)

Divorce Italian Style (1961)

Family Diary (1962)

Salvatore Giuliano (1962)

The Leopard (1963)

The Organizer (1963)

A Fistful of Dollars (1964)

Marriage Italian Style (1964)

For a Few Dollars More (1965)

The Tenth Victim (1965)

Attack and Retreat (1965)

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

The Big Gundown (1966)

Once Upon a Time In the West (1968)

Romeo and Juliet (1968) 

Fellini Satyricon (1969)

Burn! (1969)

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Perhaps someone could help me with this....

 

I seem to recall an Italian made film from the '60's in which MARCELLO MASTROIANNI has an affair with ANN-MARGARET, who he first recall as being an "ugly duckling" when she was younger, but sees her after  her glorious transformation after learning his son, helplessly in love with her, tries to commit suicide due to his unrequited love.

 

It was considered a comedy  of sorts.

 

 

Sepiatone

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