Friday, April 10, 2015

Netflix Instant Film Review: Marriage Italian Style (1964)

Marriage Italian Style (1964) - Directed by Vittorio De Sica; Written by Renato Castellani, Tonino Guerra, Leonardo Benvenuti, Piero De Bernardi; Starring Sophia Loren, Marcello Mastrioanni, Aldo Puglisi.

By Kenny Howell

I love Vittorio De Sica, but mostly for his dramas, not his comedies.

It might be a cultural difference, it might be a time difference since these movies were made in the mid 20th century, but whatever it is, they never click totally with me.

It's frustrating because of how much I admire De Sica's other work, which would probably be considering more depressing fare like The Bicycle Thieves and Umberto D. That's not to say there isn't anything to his comedies. He still makes gorgeous films and attracts supreme talent like Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastrioanni. And Marriage Italian Style, though is comedic in tone, becomes more dramatic and sweet as the film crawls along.

Loren plays Filumena, a woman who begins a decades long love affair with playboy Domenico (Mastrioanni). Filumena is deeply in love with him over the years, but Dummi, as she calls him, can't stop wandering around with other women. Filumena finds out that he is planning on marrying one of his women, so she fakes being on death's bed to get him to marry her. When he does, she pops right out of it, and he battles for an annulment saying it is fraud. But Filumena has a secret that will keep him around and drive him a bit crazy.

Loren and Mastroianni are great as always, and they can handle the shifting tone well throughout. The film just lacks the depth of some of De Sica's other work. Maybe it's unfair on my part to compare the two, but I see what De Sica was capable of and this work, which is perfectly fine, seems minor. Still probably worth your time if you like the time period or stars.

Rating: ***

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