In the Mood for Some Classic Italian? Pour the Wine and Warm Up the DVD Player
Italian film boutique RaroVideo seems to be the archive for classic Italian films, and is releasing four new DVDs. One was streeted February 28, 2012; three more are scheduled for release March 13, 2012.
A lonely prostitute who is a Roman nightlife fixture longs to feel like a normal woman, so she decides to buy a car (go figure) in The Automobile . One would hope that a normal woman taking a holiday at the beach would know better than to let two men she meets there drive her new car, but Anna (Anna Magnani) lets them have a go at it, and it’s all downhill from there. The Automobile (L’automobile) is one of three stories presented in the 1971 mini-series Tre donne (Three Women), directed by Alfredo Giannetti, also starring Vitorio Caprioli and Christian Hay. Music was composed for the mini-series by Ennio Morricone. Release: February 28, 2012.
Burt Lancaster is a retired professor living alone in a Roman palazzo in Luchino Visconti’s 1974 study of solitude, Conversation Piece (Gruppo di famiglia in un interno). Forced to rent an apartment on the upper floor to a tacky Italian marchesa, her lover, her daughter, and her daughter’s lover, the happy introvert finds his normal lifestyle disrupted by the insanity and debauchery of his tenants’ lives. Also starring Helmut Berger, Silvana Mangano, Claudia Marsani, and Stefano Patrizi, Conversation Piece is at times depressing as it delineates the undoing of the American, but a masterwork by Visconti. Dominique Sanda and Claudia Cardinale appear in cameo roles.
The Visitor (La visita) was directed in 1963 by Antonio Pietrangeli and stars Sandra Milo as a woman in search of Mr. Right who places a lonely-hearts ad, attempting to lure the right kind of guy into rescuing her from small town life. Francois Perier plays the lonely Roman businessman who takes the bait. A series of flashbacks inform the nature of the characters. The Visitor is classified as both “romantic” and a “comedy,” but it has a darkness to it. Gastone Moschin and Mario Adorf also star.
If the mood calls for bloody, Italian action, Young, Violent, Dangerous (1976) directed by Romolo Guerrieri will fill the bill. Three friends from “good families” (ya’ gotta love their car; it looks like a cartoon) rob a gas station and kill three people, and rob a bank and grocery store, killing more people—for fun. Since the police are fervently searching for them, their options are limited, so they do what anyone else would do—pick up one guy’s girlfriend and head for Switzerland, killing everybody who gets in their way. I’m not sure how young these guys are, but I can promise you they are violent and dangerous. Viewers may want to cover themselves with shower curtains to protect their clothing from blood spray. The film stars Eleonora Giorgi, Stefano Patrizi (Conversation Piece), Benjamin Lev, Max Delys, and Tomas Milian. It was written byFernando di Leo(reputed “maestro of mafia mayhem”).