T. It.: Sangue Misto; Sog.: Da Un Romanzo Di John Masters; Scen.: Sonya Levien, Ivan Moffat; F.: Freddie A. Young; Mo.: George Boemler, Frank Clarke; Scgf.: John Howell; Cost.: Elizabeth Haffenden; Mu.: Miklós Rózsa; Int.: Ava Gardner (Victoria Jones), Stewart Granger (Col. Rodney Savage), Bill Travers (Patrick Taylor), Abraham Sofaer (Surabhai), Francis Matthews (Ranjit Kasel), Marne Maitland (Govindaswami), Peter Illing (Ghanshyam – Davay), Edward Chapman (Thomas Jones), Lionel Jeffries (Tenente Graham Mcdaniel); Prod.: Pandro S. Berman Per Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; Pri. Pro.: 1 Maggio 1956; 35mm. L. 2999 M. D.: 110′. Col.
India-in-Hollywood signified grandiose CinemaScope, vivid, epic scenes with masses of actors, the spectrum of colors on human faces, and of course stardom – Ava Gardner in her most attractive, captivating performance. This is without doubt a flawed film, messed up badly in production – and yet it is a film I love profoundly. Even without the privilege of having the “final cut”, it became a true auteur film for George Cukor, a kind of credo for his tolerant understanding of humans, and an emanation of his beautiful impartiality (reminescent of the principles of Jean Renoir), in the midst of both social and individual conflict.
It’s a film about India on the eve of independence, with violence, revolution and armed insurrection around every corner, and it is also a great tale of love, without any artificial division between these elements. Emotions and dreams are part of a large fresco, not something that has been implanted artificially. The epic sequences burn with the same flame as scenes of intimacy, passionate in the range and profound comprehension that charismatic actors can bring to a film. Ava Gardner had played the role of a half-breed before, notably as Julie in George Sidney’s version of Show Boat (1951). Here too her star identity, often enhanced with veils that bring an everyday touch along with mystery, combining American and exotic elements – was condensed into her famous image as “pure animal”, spellbinding. It’s the second Stewart Granger film at the festival. The Man in Grey signified the beginning of his career, and here we have one of its crowning moments along with Scaramouche and Moonfleet.
Peter von Bagh