I was fascinated by a review of a reissue of Raffaello Matarazzo's Runaway Melodramas in the New York Times and couldnt wait to purchase the boxed set. The showpieces of the collection are the two related melodramas, "Nobody's Children" and "The White Angel." Both star veteran Italian actor, Amedeo Nazzari, an Errol Flynn lookalike and a beautiful Yvonne Sanson, who at various times looks like Joan Crawford and Ava Gardner. The plots are absolutely fantastic, with villains out of the early silents and more plot complications and coincidences that truly defy reason. Both stories verge on camp sensibilities, yet both films are utterly fascinating. Just when you think you have seen enough, the director surprises us once again with another unbelievable plot twist. It would be easy to poke fun at these films, but they never fail to entertain, and, at times, they are truly moving. Freudian undertones of suffocating mother love, the eternal Italian Madonna/ whore conflict and the Christian idea of suffering leading to redemption infuse these offbeat and highly melodramatic films. We may laugh at them, based on our familiarity with the classic Italian films of the same time, but they always are engrossing and they never bore.