Page 3, 11th November 1949

11th November 1949
Page 3
Page 3, 11th November 1949 — ITALY SEEKS A MARKET

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ITALY is seeking a wider market for her films than the few " special " cinemas in Britain and America who have the courage to show screen products other than those of London and Hollywood. And riding into the fray for perhaps

I should say flying) is Dr. Renato

Gualino, vice-president and managing director of Lux Films and president of the Itatian Producers' Association, whom I met last week on his way through London to New York. Dr. Civalino, a genial, quietvoiced man with a sense of humour and a mind that is not confined by the silver rectangle that reflects his company's products, talked frankly to me about films in general and those of his own country in particular. Here are some of the points he made: " If we buy and exhibit American and British films. we have a right to ask a reciprocal market for our own. I know London gets them but I want to see Italian films going into the ordinary programmes throughout the provinces. Dubbing in English is not such an expensive process. I am told provincial audiences don't like dubbing, but so far I don't thipls they've had much chance of judging for themselves."


". It seems a strange thing to saybut we Italian producers have had to educate our own people to come and see Italian films. When the war ended and we hadn't much to show, the market became flooded with American pictures-good ones. too, for they had been accumulating through the war years. And the Americans were on the spot to push them. The result was that our people said in effect-American or nothing."

Here 1 had to ask What about British films?

" A few-but they are not pushed as the American ones are. Of course, Hamlet (successfully dubbed in lialianl has packed them in, and Red Shoes-but these two arc world beaters in any country."


One thing that Dr. Gualino said really surprised me. It was that Monsieur Vincent was not so very popular in Italy. Why? " It may he that they do not like French reli gious pictures. I don't know." I reminded the doctor that his Lux studios had made the Don Bosco film in 1934. " That, of course, was

done for a special commission. I think we have advanced technically a good deal since then." About the treatment of priests and religious orders in Continental films I asked: " What about the monastery sequence in Paisu (the Rossellini film)? He said : " The Italians didn't like it, but the Americans love it." And here 1 was mean enough to suggest that this glorification of the American chaplains at the expense of the poor, foolish Italian friars, was done with an eye on the dollars. Dr. Gualino, agreeing with me that the priest on the French film has in the

past been too often a figure of fun, said: " Maybe we Italians are in clined to do that, too." I must say I haven't noticed it (with the excep

lion of Palsa), but said : " Well. the Catholics here, small in numbers though they may be, don't like it and they lose no time in saying so."

This is Dr. Gualino's fourth visit to the States. He will buy some American films, but hopes it will be on a reciprocal basis. Last time he was there, he said. he bought The Secret Life of Walter MM.. and (here I registered appropriate horror), the Jane Russell opus, The Outlaw. "That's the type of film practically all the British critics object to strongly-and we have campaigned against them with some effect," I teed

The Lux studios have sent us some fine films-most famous up to date being Vivere in Pace. Most recent is II Caccia Tragica (Pursuit) now at the ACADEMY, and already scheduled is one whose fame has already come before it-Bitter Rice Angelina, with Anna Magnani in the title role, London has already seen.

for one. hope Dr. Gualino is successful in securing his reciprocal markets, for not only producers but cinema audiences have much to learn from the Italians-as has been proved beyond any doubt-by the few films they have sent us since the ending of the war.

WREN WOMEN WERE SWEET Every generation of cinema producers and actors pays its tribute to Louisa M. Alcott's classic story, Little Women (Ewen) and once again we get a glimpse into the period, so long forgotten, when sweetness was the feminine virtue most applauded. " Birds in their little nests agree," chides the wistful doomed Beth-a monstrous Victorian fallacy, but along with all the rest of the sweet falsehoods we swallow and like it.

Was there ever a Marmee so perfect as Mrs. March? The answer must be No; but it's no good trying the cynical or the sceptical approach to Little Women, It has something which defies cynicism and scepticism and time, and no wonder that the Alcott home has become a mecca for literary pilgrims all over America. Mary Astor (Marmee), Janet Leigh (Meg), June Allyson (Jo), Margaret O'Brien {Beth), Elizabeth Taylor (Amy), Lucille Watson (Aunt Marche-with this team the acting is safe. They can be relied on to sell the story to a generation in which sweetness is strictly rationed and in which the type of love that welded the March family together is fast becoming a myth.

Home of the Brave (LONDON PAVELION), America says mea max irna culpa over the native sin of colour prejudice. Setting-a strategic Pacific island; time-World War II; dramatis personae-several white G.I.s-one coloured, who have volunteered for a hazardous expedition. Theme mental agony caused to coloured G.1. by the others' attitude. I like Jeff Corey's doctor who has to psycho-analyse the negro out of mental blackout and physical paralysis, brought on by callous and thoughtless soldiers. (London saw this as a play with Richard Allenborough-in the role of a Jew who endures similar treatment to that handed out to the negro).

Everybody Does It (ODEON, LEICESTER SQUARE)-i.e,, sings. A good hearty laugh with Paul Douglas, Broadway and radio veteran, but only a novice in films, as a man who marries into a family of "frustrated sopranos" and whose own singing voice (it shatters mirrors and windows) is discovered by an unfrusirated one. Linda Darnell. It's good. homely fun, and the whole family can safely " have a go."

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