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.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Back to Sorrento con Sophia e Vittorio

Twenty-one year old Sophia Loren (80 recently) is absolutely sensational in PANE, AMORE E ... (Bread,Love and..) which was also known as SCANDAL IN SORRENTO in 1955, but was long unavailable as that title. PANE, AMORE, E is an Italian only dvd, but one really doesn't need the language to enjoy this delicious confection, one of Sophia's last in Italy, after her busy years 1954 (at least 6 titles) and '55 - which she also did THE SIGN OF VENUS, also with De Sica and Raf Vallone, and then her last one LUCKY TO BE A WOMAN with Charles Boyer and her frequent co-star Marcello. Then it was off to start those American films made in Europe like THE PRIDE AND THE PASSION (the only one of hers I don't like), BOY ON A DOLPHIN and LEGEND OF THE LOST - where she is a match for co-stars Alan Ladd, Clifton Webb, John Wayne and Rosanno Brazzi , before those Hollywood films like HOUSEBOAT and then to England for THE KEY and THE MILLIONAIRESS before those epics like EL CID and her award-winning TWO WOMEN

So, back to Sorrento ..... 
Marshall Antonio Carotenuto comes back to native Sorrento to take care of the local fire brigade. But since Sofia, a very nice fishmonger, occupies his native house Antonio share another home with Donna Violante, secretly fall in love with him. Sofia accepts to marry Antonio almost as a joke to make Nicolino, a traffic policeman, getting jealous.

This is a widescreen comedy, directed by Dino Risi. Sophia is in her element at her fish stall and charming the returned De Sica, whose house she is living in. He wants the house back but also starts to court Sophia, leading to several amusing scenes and that terrific mambo dance number, This is as good as her mambo in WOMAN OF THE RIVER, the year before in 1954 (when she also delighted us in TOO BAD SHE'S BAD, that terrific comedy with Marcello and De Sica again, and Vittorio's own GOLD OF NAPLES (as per reviews at Loren/Mastroianni/De Sica labels). Naturally it all ends happily for all concerned. This is one we can happily return to anytime. De Sica is a joy too as the rather pompous landlord, particularly his attempts to mambo! Sorrento in the Fifties looks perfect too.
The dvd has an amusing extra - a 15 minute documentary on Loren and Carlo Ponti forever arriving at airports and getting on and off planes and attending gala screenings, showing the whirlwind nature of their lives then, 1960 to 1966. Its hilariously edited and narrated - how did they have the energy and stamina to make films as well? We also get to see the likes of Losey and Vitti (must be during their MODESTY BLAISE) arriving at Cannes.
My next all-Italian (winging its way to me) will be Bolognini's  rare1960 LA GIORNATA BALORDA (From A Roman Balcony). 

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