Customer Review

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Great Films in One!, 29 Nov 2011
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This review is from: Boccaccio '70 - (Mr Bongo Films) (1962) [DVD] (DVD)
I bought this DVD because I am interested in the work of the director Luchino Visconti. But this movie of four-films-in-one, each separate film directed by a different Italian (the others are Mario Monicelli, Federico Fellini, and Vittorio de Sica) under overall producer Carlo Ponti, has proved to be an interesting and valued purchase for all four movies.

Produced in 1962 as a take on modern romance in the style of the Renaissance poet Boccaccio's `Decameron', I can understand why the original film may not have been hot box office material when it was first released. Despite featuring some of the hottest Italian and international stars of the day - Sophia Loren, Anita Ekberg, Romy Schneider, Peppino de Filippo, Alfio Vita - it would be asking much for a member of the audience to sit through four films in one go, whose aggregate running time is over three hours. But watched separately on consecutive evenings, the outlooks that each film gives about modern Italian relationships in the 1960s is entertaining and insightful. There are also many features of these films that comment on other aspects of modern life, even on the film-making process itself, but this is sadly not the place to review such matters. Instead, I give a brief synopsis of each film.

In the first movie (directed by Monicelli) a young couple in the brave new world of postwar northern Italy (high-rise flats and down-payments for a new cooker) cannot let their employer know that they have secretly married for fear of losing their jobs. Fellini's film is a clever take on the story of the temptation of Saint Anthony; in this case a self-appointed moral guardian in Rome is haunted by a lascivious billboard advertising milk. Visconti's contribution is set in high-class Milanese society (where else?), where a young but penniless count has married a young-but-rich industrialist's daughter. She wants to work for a living, but the job she finds is not what she expected. Finally, de Sica's is in his element at the fair in Lugo, where an illiterate female stallholder becomes the raffle-prize for the night, a prize won by the church sacristan.

Ponti said that despite Visconti's film being shot on only the one set, his was the most expensive of the four. All four films have their comic elements, whether it's the slapstick of Doctor Antonio during an al fresco lunch or the bumbling patter of Count Ottavio's lawyer. Music for two of the films is provided by Nino Rota. My DVD comes with an 18 certificate. I have no idea why this is so.

Whether you're a fan of Italian cinema, have a hankering for the 1960s, have an interest in late-twentieth century social studies, or just enjoy good films, this DVD provides you with four classics in one. Alas, there are no extras.
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Nicholas Casley
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Location: Plymouth, Devon, UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 106