This is an anti-Fascist short Rossellini made in 1940.
La vispa Teresa was rejected and, although Ferrara said that Il tacchino was distributed by Scalera under its working title, “La perfida Albione,” there were no press notices, and no one outside of Scalera is known to have seen it. According to Ferrara, Rossellini told him it was a satire in which “Perfidious Albion,” a big turkey representing England, goes around pecking at the hens representing the nations of Europe, until defied by a rooster representing Italy. “Rossellini detested it,” said Ferrara, “[though his] genius was such that he could achieve extraordinary effects out of nothing. He used to tell me, ‘It’s the only time that, through my weakness, I made a work of propaganda.’”
In Il tacchino, however, nothing suggests England; quite the contrary, the turkey suggests a Fascist thug (“It’s tiring always keeping yourself puffed up like a turkey,” remarks the narrator). But Italy had entered the war in June and England’s perfidy was a favorite Mussolini theme. And thus one suspects Rossellini was feeding Ferrara blarney, not only to disguise his sedition but to convince the Scalera brothers that he was doing something “important.” “Scalera,” said Riganti, “was very irritated with Rossellini for the bad quality of the shorts he had made and considered him in default of his contract.”
The photography is lovely, there is some elaborate cutting, and the camera’s scanning eye pressages Rossellini’s roving zoom of later years. But as in Fantasia sottomarina, continuity depends totally on a voice-off narrator, and the creatures themselves hold little interest.
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