Gennaro Righelli

Sog., Scen.: Vittorio Calvino, Fabrizio Sarazani, Vittorio De Sica, Pietro Solari, Nicola Fausto Neroni, Gennaro Righelli. F.: Aldo Tonti. M.: Gabriele Varriale. Scgf.: Ferruccio Sammartino. Mus.: Cesare Bixio, Felice Montagnini. Int.: Anna Magnani (Gioconda Perfetti), Vittorio De Sica (conte Ghirani), Virgilio Riento (Don Nicola), Laura Gore (Anna), Zora Piazza (Lucia Perfetti), John Garson (Lucky Brandy), Lauro Gazzolo (commendatore Bardacò), Giuseppe Porelli (amministratore Bonifazio). Prod.: Lux Film, Ora Film. DCP. D.: 93’. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Right after Roma città aperta, Magnani shot Abbasso la miseria!, which reprises the character of the commoner from Campo de’ fiori, made prior to Rossellini’s film. It was her only successful film from the period, but this success was replicated in the 1946-47 season by Abbasso la ricchezza!, again directed by Righelli, an elderly filmmaker who had been working since the 1910s. If the story of a fruit seller who strikes it rich and is seduced and deceived by high society is not new, it nonetheless allows the film to represent the new bourgeoisie that had emerged following the war and the black market. It also permits that playful alternation between vulgarity and affectation of which Magnani was a master. The actress is more than ever the protagonist here, and her performance makes the film, which was explicitly conceived as a vehicle for her talents: she dances the boogie-woogie, sings Roman folk songs and allows herself several elegantly dramatic moments with the obligatory agonised cry. The character, which could easily have been unlikeable, is immediately sympathetic precisely because the public instantly recognises “Magnani” and thus the heart and humanity behind her stinginess, diffidence and brusque manners. There is a delightful duet with Vittorio De Sica, who here reprises and perfects the character of the elegant but penniless gentleman that was hinted at in Pagliero’s Roma città libera and would subsequently become a fixture of his roles for decades.
So, too, is her scene with the young Vito Annichiarico, who played her son in Roma città aperta; with a wink to the audience, the boy once again declares himself a “partisan”.

Emiliano Morreale

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