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.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Senilita, and some more Italian rarities

Thank goodness for YouTube where one can find rare Italian films sometimes in full and sometimes with optional sub-titles - like that recent Bolognini CORRUPTION, as per review at Italian label - (also GHOSTS OF ROME and GOLD OF ROME

Bolognini's SENILITA from 1962 is another one, no subtitles alas but one can still enjoy the unfolding drama from Italo Svevo's well-regarded book (I have just ordered a copy of it...) - James Joyce was an admirer of the book, he lived in Trieste where it is set. 
It centers on a middle-aged public official and his unrequited love for a flirtatious but unpossessable girl who blithely betrays him. The melancholy hero is played by the perhaps too-young Anthony Franciosa; Claudia Cardinale is in her element as the girl - and looks as marvellously 20s here as she does in Moravia's TIME OF INDIFFERENCE (review at Claudia label).
Tony keeps his shirt on in the film!

The man's sister who lives with him is a depressive also disappointed in love and is wonderfully played by American Betsy Blair (the ex-Mrs Gene Kelly, who was also terrific in Antonioni's IL GRIDO in '57, before she settled in England and married director Karel Reisz). The solitude and sadness of these characters is captured perfectly. SENILITA has never cropped up here in the UK, but at least I can read the book and see the Italian film on YouTube! 

From Trieste to Genoa and on to Capri: We also never saw MARE MATTO (CRAZY SEA) here, a 1964 drama by Renato Castellani - which point of interest is it stars a deglamorised Gina Lollobridgida as the plain repressed woman who runs a boarding house in the busy port of Genoa used by local sailors, two of whom are Jean-Paul Belmondo and Tomas Milian. Again no subtitles, but the interest is in seeing these players at their peak - but why cast Gina and make her plain..? 
Plus 2 more shots from that 1964 rarity: Patroni Griffi's IL MARE (THE SEA) - reviewed at Italian label, back in 2010 - Francoise Prevost with Umberto Orsini and Dino Mele as the teenager - that trio in out of season Capri, a very moody sub-Antonioni piece, which I caught during its 1964 run at London's presige Academy cinema - its never appeared anywhere here since! (SENILITA did play here in December 1962, before I arrived in '64).  


  1. I remember Il Mare very well and would love to see it again. It seems there's no interest in producing it on DVD. I presume a print still exists. I recall the very haunting opening pictures of the sea with, if my memory is correct, a boy's voice singing. It was definitely 'arty' and in my early 20s it was cool to salivate over Antonioni's alienated people. The characters in 'Il Mare'gave also offered us the chance to share in their angst - and we felt better for it!

  2. Why is there almost no trace of Il Mare anyway? And what happened to Dino Mele?