Mario Soldati – Tragica notte aka Tragic night (1942)


Released from jail, Nanni (Checchi) punches prison guard Stefano (Ninchi) who has
denounced him. In order to take revenge, Stefano suggests the suspicion that, during his
absence, his wife has had business with the Count Paolo (Rimoldi). A few days later, at
night, a deadly ambush will be prepared. Continue reading

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



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… Continue reading

Mario Soldati – La provinciale aka The Wayward Wife (1953)


Description: The Wayward Wife (Italian: La provinciale) is a 1953 Italian drama film taken from an Alberto Moravia’s novel and directed by Mario Soldati. It was entered into the 1953 Cannes Film Festival.

Gemma, daughter of a lodger, is in love with her half-brother, but since she cannot marry him she ends up marrying a teacher. She doesn’t love him and betrays him but is blackmailed by a Romanian countess who forces her to become a prostitute. She’s desperate but in the end she asks her husband for help. She has learned to love him in the meantime. Continue reading

Mario Soldati – Malombra (1942)



This utterly gorgeous Gothic melodrama would be widely hailed as a masterpiece, had it not been made in Italy during the Mussolini regime. A gross injustice, as Malombra – unlike Piccolo Mondo Antico, Mario Soldati’s earlier film of an Antonio Fogazzaro novel – contains not one moment of triumphalist flag-waving or Fascist family values. Oddly akin to Rebecca in its atmosphere of death-haunted romance and voluptuous doom, it reaches a peak of visual refinement of which Hitchcock could only dream.

Its star is Isa Miranda (famous, and not without reason, as Italy’s answer to Garbo and Dietrich) playing a headstrong but unstable young noblewoman, confined by her uncle to a gloomy villa on the shores of Lake Como. A yellowed and crumbling letter, found in an old spinet, convinces her that she is the reincarnation of her uncle’s first wife – another troubled beauty who died a virtual prisoner after being caught in a forbidden love affair. When a handsome young writer (Andrea Checchi) comes to stay, Miranda decides that HE is the reincarnation of the dead woman’s lover. Gradually, she lures him into her web of sex and revenge… Continue reading