La Viaccia

The love of a whore.

It has all the mastery, after all, in a young man’s life.

The particular incident conveyed is an item in Beckett’s biography, “no’s knife in yes’s wound.”

Bolognini’s mise en scčne shows why there is a Seurat and a Picasso, to say nothing of Toulouse-Lautrec.

“A shameful waste” (Bosley Crowther, New York Times, brushing up his Shakespeare).



If knowing is remembering, an ephebe pushing forty in love is a dodderer. The labored writer, his sister, a friend full of talents, the elusive beloved.

Trieste, city of Svevo and Joyce, viewed as per a taste of honey (dir. Tony Richardson) but through the added perspective of memory, another character.

Losey has Eva for the ending.

Eleanor Mannikka (All Movie Guide), “conventional story of unrequited love.”

The one that got away, as old fishermen say, proverbially.


La Corruzione

The publisher’s son who wants to be a priest.

A horrible joke, of course, finely observed, well told, one of the great films of the cinema.

There’s a whore in it, and a yacht ride, and mass shit, sc. smash hit (Boulez).


Senso civico
Le Streghe

How a witch negotiates someone else’s traffic accident and makes her appointment in record time.



The intersecting stories of two crooks, the simple moral being that if you would cheat the Government, even under Mussolini, you would rob the Vatican Museum as well.

Bolognini in English.

Paul Brenner (All Movie Guide), “apparently...”

Halliwell’s Film Guide, “floppy, tedious”.



With reference to La Viaccia principally, but also La Corruzione and so forth, the case study of a prostitute, her cry from street to street answered, or not.

Again, as elsewhere noted, a faultless rendering of the epoch, with Kirchner’s ladies in full regalia, or anybody’s.


Imputazione di omicidio per un studente

The key is Zinnemann’s High Noon by way of Winner’s I’ll Never Forget What’s’is’name in the last scene (cf. Avildsen’s Joe).

End of the examining magistrate’s career, if a witness gives false testimony a charge of perjury is brought at once, if a sympathetic priest lies his deposition is simply torn up, if the police arrest the wrong man and fabricate a case whilst withholding evidence one no longer has the support of the People (the State, the Crown), on one’s own the case must be addressed, not the polished highly-placed influential Russian espionage agent of McCarey’s My Son John, nor even the top scientist a defector in Rouse’s The Thief, rather one of the hapless layabouts of Dassin’s The Rehearsal, with a bent toward the cadres of Godard’s La Chinoise or Frankenheimer’s Year of the Gun, student types, one of them shot dead at a demonstration, another the son of the examining magistrate, a dead cop, the imputation of the title brought against another student who speaks of “class justice” and “Fascists”, the examining magistrate shrugs off the former and contemns the latter notion, cp. Riot on Sunset Strip, dir. Arthur Dreifuss.

Morricone has a structural part to play, Ruzzolini’s cinematography finds beauty in realism. Martin Balsam is dubbed as il giudice.


Libera, amore mio...

Mussolini, who knows a time is coming...

The anarchist’s daughter, who wears red to piss off the Fascisti.

The conquest of Ethiopia. “Fascism is one big family...”

It would have been better, she says, if il Duce’s papa had pulled his pud, anarchism to her means calling a spade a spade. True story, Vincenzoni tells it.

It’s said someone scrawled on Belli’s monument a phrase comparing B.M. to light, “we prefer to be left in the dark” was added.

Spain for a democrat she gives refuge, (cf. Rossellini’s Era notte a Roma). Lorca on bread and liberty. A “special tribunal for the defense of the state” pronounces upon her, the sentence is exile (cf. Rosi’s Cristo si č fermato a Eboli).

“Italy’s death sentence,” the bond with Hitler. The war in Europe. “Beginning of the end.The war in Russia. She is insupportable, the Fascists close his tailor shop after her outburst at a newsreel, Luce per il Duce.

Fall of Mussolini, arrival of the Germans. Arrest order. Life with the partisans. Reprisals. Libera, I’ve looked for you so long. I didn’t know if you were alive or what they’d done to you. I’ve knocked on hundreds of doors. And all the time you were here in Padua.” End of the war.

Postwar accommodations. The gunman on the rooftops (cf. Conway’s Viva Villa!).


Per le antiche scale

The old way, the best way, the only way, understood as an insane asylum under Mussolini.

This is fully formed and amply developed, the particular conceit is finally to understand a nervous breakdown as placing the regimen and the regime in momentaneous conjunction.

Richard Eder of the New York Times suffered the delusion that he understood it, “the pace is leaden, the dialogue ridiculous.” Time Out Film Guide scarcely disabuses him, but finds what are called redeeming qualities, “it at least shows evidence of an intelligent awareness” etc.

“Them well-worn stairs,” as Albee has it.


L’ereditą Ferramonti

Another “New Italy” in 1880, failed bakery, three worthless children, pimp, pig and basilisk.

The pig buys a hardware store and marries the boss’s daughter, a very clever girl. “We’ll sell nails to the Pope, new nails for every crucifix in Rome!Flooding is advantageous to a Tiber river project all three profit richly in. “They kiss ass,” says the elder Ferramonti, “instead of working,” in his time a hard master he muzzled the ox, now he is a moneylender.

A partnership of pimp and very clever girl to make her “rich and respectable”... the elder Ferramonti’s dream, all of them bound in ice... the source of inside information dried up, the business at a standstill, the Ferramonti inheritance all but delivered... and if it ends in a memory of Eisenstein’s October, it is to see a rich and respectable member of the government descend into the depths.

Hal Erickson (All Movie Guide) is notably in error about the plot, “there’s little more to the story than that,” he adds confidently.