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.

Monday, 30 April 2012

La Corruzione, 1963

Another Italian rarity - so rare there is no English sub-titled version available, but there it is on YouTube where the film is available in full to watch on your laptop, with optional English subtitles - so many thanks to my Sao Paulo pal Jorge for recommending this over at IMDB.  It shows though so that so many Italian films of the '60s never made it to London.  The big three then circa 1960 were of course Antonioni, Fellini and Visconti, with new boys Pasolini and Bertolucci, and old masters Vittorio De Sica and Roberto Rossellini. Then there were all those other directors like Mauro Bolognini and Monicelli and Comencini and Zurlini, Alberto Lattuada, Dino Risi, Rosi etc. LA DOLCE VITA, L'AVVENTURA and ROCCO AND HIS BROTHERS set the template for the Italian renaissance ...

Monicelli had his segment (right) cut from BOCCACCIO 70 in 1962 (though it is now included on the dvd and is indeed a revelation, as per 1962 label), and directed Monica Vitti in her hilarious episode in FOUR KINDS OF LOVE (LA BAMBOLE) where Bolognini directed that hilarious episode which scandalised at the time featuring Gina Lollobrigida and Jean Sorel (Sorel label); they also directed episodes of SEX QUARTET (LE FATE, THE QUEENS) in 1966, and Bolognini also one of the episodes of I TRE VOLTI which I shall be seeing shortly, it also has Antonioni's segment with ex-Empress Soraya of Iran, whom De Laurentiis was trying to make into a movie star then. Bolognini later did some exemplary costume dramas like METELLO and GRAN BOLLITO (Shelley Winters label). Zurlini did those acclaimed films like GIRL WITH A SUITCASE with Claudia Cardinale and the young Jacques Perrin in 1961 who also featured strongly in FAMILY DIARY (CRONOCA FAMILIARE) with Marcello Mastroianni in '62...

So then, to LA CORRIZIONE (CORRUPTION) in 1963, Bolognini's study of idealistic young Jacques Perrin leaving college and deciding to become a priest, as he returns to his wealthy industrialist father Alain Cuny, who enjoys the power he wields and of course has other ideas for his son's future ... this is nicely played out in those stunning interiors and marvellous black and white photography as Bolognini orchestrates it all with a sure hand - there is that stunning scene where Cuny slaps Perrin hard across the face that certainly makes one sit up and take notice ... then we are on that luxurious yacht sailing around some remote islands, with the father's current girlfriend Rosanna Schiaffino in tow.
The tensions on the boat remind one of similar scenes in L'AVVENTURA just three years earlier, as the girl and boy explore each other's attitudes and the inevitable happens.  Has the father put her up to seducing the son ? - who then wants to leave the boat.   Isa Miranda has a scene as the ailing hypochondriac mother at the clinic and there is that brilliantly staged suicide of the employee the father has been bullying ...  

Cuny is terrific here - he was the intellectual Steiner in LA DOLCE VITA and Moreau's husband in Malle's LES AMANTS among other strong roles. The very prolific Perrin impresses as usual - he went on to Demy's LES DEMOISELLES DE ROCHEFORT as the blond sailor, and his involvement in Costa-Garvas' Z in 1970, (another one to revisit), Demy's LE PEAU D'ANE among others, and  his later acclaim in CINEMA PARADISO - like Jean Sorel he is older now but still working.  Rosanna Schiaffino (1939-2009) impressed me the least of those '60s Italian stars like Vitti and Cardinale, she was merely adequate in TWO WEEKS IN ANOTHER TOWN and THE VICTORS etc, but she is stupendous here, with that new hairstyle and the camera loves her in those lingering closeups.  The final sequence with the young people dancing to that score by Giovanni Fusco is sensational ... and captures everything the film is about.

A gripping drama then of the Italian high life, brilliantly directed by Bolognini, with that early 60s look in spades. I loved it.

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