Marriage Italian Style
Directed by Vittorio De Sica
In Naples, in the Second World War, the wolf businessman Domenico Soriano meets the seventeen years old whore Filumena Marturano in a brothel during an allied bombing. Two years later, in the post-war, they meet each other by chance and begin a long affair. For twenty-two years, Filumena is his mistress and administrates his shops in Naples while Domenico is traveling. When Domenico decides to marry the young cashier of his bakery, Filumena lures him as if she were near to death and he marries her. Later he annuls their matrimony, and she tells him that she has three sons that she raised secretly, one of them is his legitimate son but she does not disclose his identity. The middle-age Domenico uses the most different subterfuges trying to find which teenager might be his son.
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★★★★ review by trolleyfreak on Letterboxd
Romantic comedy drama, De Sica style!
Most of the comedy is supplied by Marcello Mastroianni with his performance as a flashy Neopolitan more concerned with the shine on his shoes than with the feelings of his mistress.
However, it's Sophia Loren's transcendent performance in the 'kept woman' role which provides the dramatic heart and soul of the picture.
She's nothing less than a force of nature in the pursuit of stability for her secret family: you can't take your eyes off her for a second..
★★★★½ review by Aaron Locke on Letterboxd
Sophia Loren literally wiped the floor with Marcello Mastroianni!!!!!! Talk about a ~she DID THAT!!!~ performance and story. This was juicy as hell from beginning to end, 100% Italian, and worth every second.
★★★½ review by Ronan Doyle on Letterboxd
Review from my VOD column "This Week on Demand".
Vittorio De Sica takes full advantage of the highly sexualised personas of stars Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianno in Marriage Italian Style, a bawdy comic romp concerning a wealthy industrialist and his lover of 22 years, who schemes to become his wife when he abandons her in favour of another woman. Though certainly a lesser film than its 1961 namesake Divorce, Italian Style, largely viewed as the initiator of the cycle of sex comedies which dominated Italian cinema in the ‘60s, De Sica’s is a highly entertaining spot of fun that doesn’t let its accentuated antics get in the way of the serious underlying issues it attempts to address. Making of Loren’s a genuinely sympathetic character whose plight highlights the inherent sexism of the day’s society, it’s a surprisingly critical work, if one that never fully exploits its potential for prime social commentary, preferring instead to focus on an effective delivery of cracking adult comedy.
★★★½ review by SnowboardJunkie on Letterboxd
I’m not overly familiar with Vittorio De Sica films. In fact I’ve only seen Bicycle Thieves other than this. Which from what I understand was at the forefront of the Neorealism movement that portrayed the poor and needy at a raw and unsolicited level. Right in the streets among throngs of non actors and such. I did not get that same feeling here.
Sophia Loren burns up the screen with her presence. Her beauty alone was enough to gather attention but her emotional swings and mounting needs garners a lot of empathy from the viewer as well. Even while she and the great Marcello Mastroianni were basically using subtlety and manipulation as a means to there own ends. Overall the leads were pure gold. And it’s obvious with the way the cast as a whole carried themselves in character that Vittorio is a master director. But the ideas behind it where dishonesty and manipulation are triumphed as necessary evil and perfectly ok as long as things turn out alright in the end left me feeling empty.
★★★★ review by Mark Cunliffe on Letterboxd
Mastroianni and Loren are, as always, superb together in this tale of the complicated twenty-two year love affair between a vain, self centred womanizer and a former prostitute who just wants to do right for her three sons. De Sica finds the perfect balance between comedy and soapy melodrama and it looks gorgeous and colourful too. All in all, this was the perfect Saturday matinee.
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