Page 8, 25th November 1955

25th November 1955
Page 8
Page 8, 25th November 1955 — The Italian Seamy Side 1

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Organisations: Italian Government
Locations: Chicago


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The Italian Seamy Side 1

LA STRADA Certificate A: Curzon Director: Federico Fellini

SHOWN first at the Italian Film Festival in England some time ago, this work of one of Italy's foremost directors brings us also Giulietta Masina (the director's wife) in the principal feminine role. Fellini belongs to the " realist" school of film makers—one of those, no doubt, who have incurred the black looks of the Italian Government because they present the seamy side of Italian life. For this indeed is a seamy tale about a simple girl—in a way a simpleton —daughter of a wretchedly poor woman who sells her to a wandering entertainer, Zampano (played by Anthony Quinn) to be his mistress, his servant and his stooge.

Most of the action concerns the almost sub-human Zampano's cruelty to this poor half-witted girl as he puts her through her paces, switching her legs when she doesn't understand, teaching her how to beat the drum while he performs his " strong-man " stunt of bursting chains with his great hairy chest. Her response is a sort of animal whimper which grows in poignancy as, in time, she grows to love the brute.

A circus clown (Richard Base

heart) meets the couple. After trying to rouse the girl to leave Zampano, he is wounded in a fight with him. Zampano goes to prison.

But the poor creature waits for him to come out, and they take the road again. A glutton for punishment, one might think—and indeed it is not until the poor girl can go on no more that they part. And she dies.

As you can see this is a bleak, indeed a sordid, picture. But it is worth going to see for the superb performance by Signora Mashie, one of Italy's most accomplished actresses. And so vividly has Fellini told his story that practically every sequence remains etched on the memory, surviving many a super, deep screen, lavishly coloured production in which glamorous pleasure resorts form the background.

Here there is nothing but a black

JOSEPHINE GRIFFIN Such a Night." in "On

OH! ROSALINDA Certificate U: Rialto Directors: Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger T F I were a Johann Strauss

" fan " 1 might feel as strongly about this as I felt when they ,. mucked about " with Carmen. (The French wouldn't have it, if you remember.) As it is, I don't care much what they do to "Die Fledermaus." What they have done is to make it a hotch-potch of 19th century gay Vienna and post-war-World-Two. Four-Power Vienna.

Also it contains a piece of prime bad casting—Michael Redgrave as the French officer (he sings). husband of Rosalinda (Ludmilla Tcherina). Still, lovers of the heavily accented Teutonic music will get lots for their money in spectacle, dance and song.

I HAD SEVEN DAUGHTERS Certificate At Leicester Square Theatre Director: Jean Boyer MAURICE CHEVALIER as the gay, irresponsible, ageing and universal lover, lie is suddenly confronted with seven delectable girls who claim he is their father.

Here is France at its national pastime of telling the world what terrific fun it is to be wicked and how frightfully dull it is to be anything else. And with Maurice Chevalier pulling the strings, what else can you expect SIMON AND LAURA Certificate A: Gaumont Director: Muriel Box

Ydon't have to be a televiewer to enjoy this roistering adaptation of a stage play to the screen—Vistavision and colour and all.

However, I'm pretty sure that TV fans will enjoy it just that little bit more, for it is all about a " serial " in which a famous husband and wife—actors—play the part of a happily married couple while in real life they fight like tigers.

The fact that the idea is certainly not original—America thought of it first and Ginger Rogers played in a film with the same theme— doesn't matter a bit. Here is a perfect example of what inspired casting, 'witty dialogue and slick editing can do with slight material.

Characterisation is sharp and clear. Peter Finch is the husband and Kay Kendall the wife, two comedy performances at top level.

Just as good is the producer David Prentice, played with just the slightest touch of caricature by Ian Carmichael.

Maurice Denham and Thora Hird, as a man and a maid servant, do wonders with hardly anything to say.

Having seen so many behind the-scenes films about stage life. I must say I found this funnier than any of them. Here is one way to lure the great British public away from their sets for a night.

In the same programme is a documentary in semi-story form of the visit of an American (David Knight) to the opera, " The Marriage of Figaro," at Cilyndebourne. The opera excerpts are very much as I remember them from my visit there—Mozart in perfection.

I could have done without an old battleaxe " Lady Falconbridge " (Marie Lohr) talking about the young man having a ranch in Chicago! If this is going out to the United States as a " Come to Britain " effort, I think they should take out that bit..

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