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Wick's Review

Created Nov 20, 2012 10:52PM PST • Edited Dec 09, 2018 07:19PM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Perfect 5.0

    A pre-sexual revolution Italian trifle, Matrimonio All’Italiana packs a considerevole punch 50 years on.

    Consider Sophia Loren – in her prime. Screen sirens come no hotter or more joyous.
    Just 30 when Marriage Italian Style was made, she plays 17 stunningly and 37 powerfully.

    Marcello Mastroianni pairs perfectly with her, as in the nearly dozen other movies they starred in together. Iconic moviestar couples? Sophia & Marcello are straight from Italian Central Casting.

    Then consider how her life relates to her role. Signora Loren survived WWII living with distant relatives in Naples. Actress Sophia plays Filumena, a working-girl in wartime Naples – very familiar territory.

    Filumena becomes the regular call-girl of Domenico, Marcello’s improbably successful man-about-town. Their torrid affair forms the story, from when she was a girl to the dramatic end of their relationship. (Imagine a young Sophia Loren working in a Neapolitan cathouse. Now calm down.)

    Produced by Carlo Ponti – Sophia’s future husband of half-a-century, it’s directed by Vittorio De Sica. Straordinariamente grande!

    As he did in The Bicycle Thief, De Sica needs only the basics to get a distinctive shot. He shows us nubile Sophia Loren taking off her dress, under which she’s wearing no underwear. But we don’t see Sophia. We see Marcello’s reaction. Thus we see through his eyes, as he – we – lasciviously check her out. Brillante!

    Vivacious, earthy, stylish, and with an all-time-great pair of leads, Marriage Italian Style charms as it implicitly mocks our post-sexual revolution mores. Oh yeah, it’s also wildly romantic, as when Marcello gives Sophia The Look before they kiss. All’Italiana!!

  3. Perfect 5.0

    Sophia Loren – a gorgeous marvel – proves a great actress. Thirty when the movie was made, she plays ingénue of 17 to middle-aged mother of three, each convincingly. For this she received the second of her two Best Actress Oscar nominations, even if this one didn’t prove a winner either.

    Marcello Mastroianni – terrifically self-absorbed – plays a very Italian man-about-town. Naturally … if such a thing can be said. Mostly called upon to look dashing while reacting to Sophia Loren, he proved a master of the slow-boil and other exaggerated distress.

    Lots of Neapolitans flesh out the cast, employing native populations being a Vittorio De Sica trademark. The neighbors flocking to her aid recalls the Bicycle Thief’s Italianate populace, though they were Romans.

  4. Male Stars Perfect 5.0
  5. Female Stars Perfect 5.0
  6. Female Costars Perfect 5.0
  7. Male Costars Perfect 5.0
  8. Perfect 5.0

    Perfection in setup and character utilization, Matrimonio All’Italiana is full of perfectly composed film moments.

    • Filumena writing her name ever so carefully, because of course she’s illiterate.
    • Her delight learning he’s taking her home to meet his Mama, never mind the outcome.
  9. Direction Perfect 5.0
  10. Play Really Great 4.5
  11. Music Perfect 5.0
  12. Visuals Perfect 5.0
  13. Content
  14. Risqué 2.0

    Italian salty

  15. Sex Erotic 2.7
  16. Violence Gentle 1.4
  17. Rudeness Salty 1.8
  18. Glib 1.3

    Just this side of surreal. OK, you could argue it’s that side of surreal.

    The considerevole punch it throws 50 years later as a pre-sexual revolution Italian artifact could serve as the basis for dozens of Women’s Studies theses, but sometimes una rosa è solo una rosa.

  19. Circumstantial Glib 1.8
  20. Biological Natural 1.0
  21. Physical Natural 1.0

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