Italian Cinema under Fascism

Roberto Rossellini – Il tacchino prepotente (1939)

This is an anti-Fascist short Rossellini made in 1940.
Quote:
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.’” Read More »

Alessandro Blasetti – Palio (1932)

IMDb:
An anticipation of Blasetti’s style. A great movie about the Siena Palio. Guido Celano (Zarre) is a very good actress and Leda Gloria too. The Tuscany environment is very well depicted. The performing style is influenced by the period, but it is quite good anyway. It is a very uncommon movie and the best representation of Palio, a religious and sporting event in Siena. Blasetti, then, after Il Palio and Terre Sole, start a wonderful career as director and will anticipates the “neorealism” with his 1942’s movie “Quattro passi fra le nuvole”. Very impressive the opening scene with Zarre riding a horse in the Siena countryside. Read More »

Alessandro Blasetti – Aldebaran (1936)

Quote:
Aldebaran is in some places erroneously reported as a “lost” film, but here it is! After
a couple of projects had either been postponed or fallen through for Blasetti, it was
suggested that he should make a film about the navy in peacetime. The result is this
strange film, which at the outset plays like a propaganda piece for the might of the Italian
navy, only to veer off into high melodrama, as it zeroes in on Commander Corrado Valeri
(Gino Cervi), and his conflict between duty and the jealousy of his wife. There are comedic
asides, a visit to a North African club, affording Blasetti to contribute the first scenes of
nudity in Italian film, and there are moments of heroics, including a mission to rescue the
doomed crew of a wrecked submarine. As if all of that was not more than enough, the film
features a star studded cast including Evi Maltagliati, Gianfranco Giachetti, Doris Duranti,
Elisa Cegani (in her debut), and even a brief cameo by Blasetti himself. Read More »

Mario Soldati – Piccolo mondo antico aka Old-Fashioned World (1941)

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Plot:
Franco, a young man of noble descent, decides to marry Luisa, daughter of a humble clerk, against his grandmother’s will. But a terrible tragedy upsets the life of the newly married couple: their little daughter Ombretta drowns in Lake Como and Luisa goes to the brink of madness… Read More »

Amleto Palermi – Cavalleria rusticana (1939)

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PLOT & Review:
(Contains some spoilers)

Quote:
This film was not based on the famous one-act opera of Pietro Mascagni but rather on the original story by the Sicilian writer Giovanni Verga. It’s the story of Santuzza, her love Turiddu, and his passion for the married Lola that leads to his death in a duel when Lola’s husband Alfio exacts satisfaction. Santuzza’s curse leveled at unfaithful Turiddu, “A te la mala Pasqua!” (“Hope you have a bad Easter!”) is a memorable moment… as it was in Mascagni’s opera.

All Sicilian passion and emotion, the film is shot against authentic Sicilian backgrounds. There are wonderful colorful sequences of villagers riding in decorated traditionally decorated carts. Those scenes are so vivid you almost don’t notice the absence of color in this black and white film. Mount Etna looms in the background, suggestive of the smoking volcanic passions of some of the characters we see living near it. Read More »

Alessandro Blasetti – Retroscena (1939)

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Review (amazon.com)
Un celebre baritono incontra sul piroscafo che lo conduce dall’America in Italia, una non meno celebre pianista. Costei è ricchissima e superba. Il baritono se ne innamora ma soffre per l’alterigia di lei. Poiché la ragazza ha beffato alcuni cantanti che si sono esibiti durante un concerto a bordo, il baritono si rifiuta di cantare, ed anzi, se la ragazza non promette di starsene rinchiusa nel camerino della Scala, egli è deciso a non partecipare alle recite liriche per cui è stato scritturato a Milano. Per quanto altezzosa la ragazza, che ricambia segretamente i sentimenti dell’uomo, si reca durante il suo debutto nel camerino di lui. Intanto un famoso critico nega qualunque valore al nuovo cantante, anche perché è geloso dell’interessamento che la ricca ereditiera dimostra per lui. Il cantante, d’accordo con la direzione del teatro, si presenta in una nuova opera sotto il nome di un suo collega polacco, di cui il critico è entusiasta. Durante l’intervallo egli, alla presenza di tutti, svela la propria identità al critico stesso che aveva tessuto pubblicamente le lodi dell’interprete straniero. Dopo questa vittoria egli ha modo di conoscere i veri sentimenti della ragazza di cui è innamorato. I due concluderanno l’avventura con il matrimonio. Read More »

Mario Camerini – Rotaie aka Rails (1929)

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A young honeymooning couple are lured away to a seaside resort by a high-society sleazeball, who has plans to seduce the girl, while at the same time her hubby in desperation stakes all his money on the roulette wheels. Read More »