Peccato Che Sia Una Canaglia

Alessandro Blasetti

T. int.: Too Bad She’s Bad. Sog.: dal racconto Il fanatico di Alberto Moravia. Scen.: Suso Cecchi D’Amico, Alessandro Continenza, Ennio Flaiano. F.: Aldo Giordani. M.: Mario Serandrei. Scgf.: Mario Chiari. Mus.: Alessandro Cicognini. Su.: Ennio Sensi, Mario Amari. Int.: Marcello Mastroianni (Paolo), Sophia Loren (Lina), Vittorio De Sica (il padre di Lina), Umberto Melnati (Michele), Margherita Bagni (Elsa), Michael Simone (Totò), Giorgio Sanna (Peppino), Mario Scaccia (Carletto), Wanda Benedetti (Valeria). Prod.: Documento Film. Pri. pro.: 4 febbraio 1955 35mm. D.: 95′. 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

1954, the year of the release of this film, was the same year Pane, amore e gelosia was released, which was preceded the year before by Pane, amore e fantasia. The pairing of De Sica and Lollobrigida, begun by Blasetti in Il processo di Frine, had already broken box office records in Italy, but the critics were not particularly kind to Blasetti, who was accused of “going commercial” nor to De Sica. In June of 1955, Nino Ghelli wrote in the pages of “Bianco e Nero”: “By now those zavattiniani old-timers are utterly predictable, going ape over the ticking of a clock […], and the second and third rate sweethearts are by now unmistakably De Sican with their little winks, shrill voices, and oddball hairdos…”. Apart from the obvious cynicism, one gathers that De Sica had become such a powerful figure and performer that he had a major influence on the film itself, as much as the hand of Zavattini is unmistakable. It’s a given that De Sica brought his considerable experience as a director to the set where he was just an actor, but it’s also true that in Peccato che sia una canaglia he plays the role of a gentleman thief with impeccable grace and  skill. He himself was quoted as saying in the supplement to the magazine “Tutto” in January of 1955: “I’m particularly close to Blasetti. More than anyone else he was the one able to dig under the surface and then dust me off to find the actor”. The kudos to Blasetti didn’t end here. The idea for the movie was inspired by a novella by Moravia, Il fanatico, which was initially discarded  in  the selection of stories for the second ‘Zibaldone’, Tempi nostri (1954), the first time the director would work with Sophia Loren, who he would then want back to play Lina, the conniving and beautiful thief. The script, written by Blasetti with Suso Cecchi D’Amico, Alessandro Continenza and Ennio Flaiano, powerfully reasserts the importance of screen writing, and constructs a simple story, full of humor, about the “innocent roguishness of family of rascals” as Mino Doletti wrote in “Il tempo”, with his enthusiastic review of the comedy when it aired on TV in 1968. Uniting the team of De Sica-Loren-Mastroianni, Blasetti once again sees into the future, interpreting the signs of his times and disclosing new directions for Italian cinema.

Thanks to Anna Fiaccarini and Alice Carraro. Special thanks to Mara Blasetti

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