This forgotten film from 1960 " Adua e le compagne" ("Adua and Friends"), was directed by Antonio Pietrangeli. The story of four independent-minded women who were destined to ruin by the inherently exploitative male-dominated society of 1950's Italy. After the Merlin law of 1959 closed down the last legal brothels of Rome, 'Adua' (played by the great: Simone Signoret), and her fellow working-girls: 'Lolita' (Sandra Milo), 'Marilina' (Emanuelle Riva of "Hiroshima Mon Amour" 1959), and 'Caterina' (Gina Rovere), decided to pool their savings together and opened a trattoria (in an old house), on the outskirts of the city. Leaving the past behind - they tried to make a fresh start, but their lives were exasperated when they were denied a permit because of their prior police records. Then 'Ercoli' (Claudio Gora), a former customer ( who was an archetype of the cretinous and predatory Italian-male of the era), offered to help them (through his connections and influence), under the sole condition that they continue in their old profession (in the rooms upstairs). Plus he wanted a sizable cut for himself (one million lira a month for rent and services), that made him their de facto pimp! Marcello Mastroianni was really good as fast-talking con man: 'Piero Salvagni', who became 'Adua's' love interest. The actors were all very good, but it was Simone Signoret who shined the most. The film was very honest in its depiction of these women (the story and screenplay was co-written by Ettore Scola - "Brutti, sporchi e cattivi" 1976), who wanted nothing more than to have a chance at a normal life but were cheated by an anachronistic and misogynist-society. The film had really good production values, with great cinematography by Armando Nannuzzi ("Il bell'Antonio" 1960, "Mafioso" 1962), and with a cool jazzy-score. 'Raro Video' did an absolutely fantastic job on a full restoration of the film. The DVD comes in a nice protective case with a pull out sleeve and booklet. Italian (Dolby Digital, Mono 2.0) with English subtitles, aspect ratio 1.66:1, NR 125 mins. At the current offering price, this is a bargain for all serious lovers of Italian Cinema! Ciao!
Love and Peace,