La Nave Delle Donne Maledette

Raffaello Matarazzo

Sog.: dal romanzo Histoire de 130 femmes di Léon Gozlan. Scen.: Raffaello Matarazzo, Aldo De Benedetti, Ennio De Concini. F.: (Gevacolor) Aldo Tonti. Mo.: Leo Catozzo. Scgf.: Piero Filippone. Co.: Dario Cecchi. Mu.: Nino Rota. Int.: Kerima (Rosario), Ettore Manni (Pedro Da Silva), May Britt (Consuelo), Tania Weber (Isabella), Elvy Lissiak (Carmen), Luigi Tosi (capitano Fernandez), Marcella Rovena (Rosa), Giorgio Capecchi (Mac Donald), Olga Solbelli (Anita), Giovanna Ralli (deportata). Prod.: Excelsa Film DCP. D.: 101’. 

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

Unlike the classic melodrama with more intellectual pretensions, there is no logical order in this film – just a series of often pre­dictable scenes that are not always seam­lessly tied together, but are redeemed by their symbolic Pavlovian meaning. Without superfluous explanations and built around the conditioned reflexes of viewers experi­enced in the genre, the movie uses canoni­cal images to awaken hatred, desperation, or pity; tears may be shed. The result could be compared to surrealist collages. By cutting out and re-assembling common elements, the usual becomes unusual. But clearly, in cinema, every moment of poetry is involun­tary […]. A memorable, erotic sequence is that of the revolt – when every woman at­tacked by a sailor kisses him on the lips, ren­dering him docile and compliant. The cap­tain, before being killed himself, murders Isabelle by whipping her (while she says: “I paid for your complicity with my body”), and then everything concludes with an orgy of black dancers, wine that splashes over the bare breasts of the young women in an indescribable jumble of bodies. Disgusted by this spectacle, the two lovers escape by boat, while the ship, abandoned by its crew, sinks. At the last moment, the cook and ex-curate recites the Lord’s Prayer, the women cover their breasts, everyone kneels down, and death captures them in a state of grace. In this film – which I find amusing like many awful melodramas, almost Dada­ist for their lack of narrative construction and directing precision – elements like religion, eroticism, women’s magazines, and big sentiments are all piled on without any harmony. And love, radically different from eroticism, often gets its revenge: the unfortunate onlooker, albeit accustomed to telling the difference between the two, has to fill in the gaps himself. After see­ing La nave delle donne maledette in a small neighborhood movie theater, I con­ducted an informal survey among the audi­ence members. During the whole film, the young leading couple exchanged only one very chaste kiss, but every single audience member, without exception, had seen Da Silva and Consuelo going to bed together.

Ado Kyrou, Amour – Erotisme & cinéma, Losfeld, Paris 1967

Copy From

Restored by Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna at L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory in 2012 on the base of a safety print from the Cinémathèque Royale du Belgique