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Askew Review 15

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(No Shame Films) Comedy. 1963. 119 Minutes Not Rated.  Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni star in three vignettes that show love and laughter from a time gone by.
     Of the three vignettes, the first one ‘Adelina’ is my favorite.  Sophia plays the gorgeous Adelina of Naples.  A wife, mother and chief bread winner of her family.  She sells black market cigarettes a crime punishable by prison.  Unless, you are pregnant.  The hilarity of the local constables trying to arrest her only to discover that she is, yet again, pregnant is wonderful.  Mastroianni as her exhausted lover is magnificent.  Director Vittorio De Sica even addresses the question of what is more important: to be pregnant regardless of whom the father is and provide for her family, or to be true to her husband and finally face the consequences?  In a film of such exceptional talents this is the segment that is dear to my heart and worth the price of the disc.
     Mara, the second and flattest of the trio, deals with a woman who realizes that it is material possessions, not love that is most important in her life.  A lot of it comes across as a commercial for Rolls Royce and neither of the main characters seem very fleshed out.
     The finale of the piece, Mara, is the most famous of the three.  Sophia Loren as the overpriced prostitute and Marcello as the man who can’t stay away from her.  Her famous striptease in this vignette was recreated decades later by Robert Altman in Ready to Wear.
     The picture quality of this disc, remastered from the original two part, 35mm negative is breathtaking.  The shots are gorgeous and this is the best the film has ever looked.  The extras are a little skimpy with a still gallery and the original theatrical trailer.  There is a beautiful booklet that recreates the original Japanese press book as well as giving bios for the two main stars and the director and reproductions of French lobby cards.  Winner of the 1964 Oscar for Best Foreign Film. Any Sophia Loren fan will need this flick as well as any Mastroianni fan or fan of director DeSica.  Once again No Shame Films gives quality that is beyond our wildest expectations. - Douglas A. Waltz



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