Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Cinema Italiano: into the '60s

Popular Italian cinema of the early '50s: TOO BAD SHE'S BAD, Silvana Mangano and Raf Vallone so young in 1949's BITTER RICE, Gina Lollobrigida and Vittoria Gassman, Alida Valli back in Italy in Visconti's 1954 SENSO with her mesmerising portrayal of 'the Wanton Countess', the first pairing of that young (19 year old!) Sophia Loren with Marcello Mastroianni in TOO BAD SHE'S BAD, also '54, followed by Sophia's steamy WOMAN OF THE RIVER which got the adolescent me all worked up when I saw it as a kid at my local cinema in Ireland. Silvana was kept busy too with De Laurentiis films like ANNA and MAMBO, another fascinating one to see now (as per my previous posts on it).

TOO BAD SHE'S BAD is an absolute treat now, an Italian comedy by Blasetti with Vittorio De Sica enjoying himself hugely as the head of a family of thieves whom the rather dim taxi driver Marcello gets involved with as he falls for daughter Sophia whose endless chatter is deliriously funny here. These are just a few examples of early '50s movies for the Italian market, it would be nice to see some of those Gina movies too like the BREAD LOVE & DREAMS series and GOLD OF NAPLES and SCANDAL IN SORRENTO. Then there were those early Fellini's I VITELLONI, and the hits LA STRADA and CABIRIA, Antonioni's LE AMICHE and IL GRIDO.

American movies were already beckoning for Gina and Sophia, Alberto Sordi comedies were popular (TWO NIGHTS WITH CLEOPATRA with Loren, NERO'S LOST WEEKEND with a young Bardot, De Sica and Gloria Swanson), while the Rossellini films with Bergman like EUROPA 51 and VOYAGE TO ITALY paved the way for Antonioni and others. Hollywood also came to the Tiber: this was the great era of Cinecetta and Titanus and producers like Ponti and De Laurentiis. Kirk Douglas was ULYSSES with Mangano as Penelope/Circe, Anthony Quinn was ATTILA (the first of 3 with Loren), Clark Gable was in Naples tussling with Sophia and Vittorio in IT STARTED IN NAPLES while Rock and Gina headed the very popular COME SEPTEMBER. Then of course came Claudia and Monica as that new '60s era dawned and Sophia and De Sica returned with TWO WOMEN as Antonioni, Fellini and Visconti stormed the film festivals...

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