Vittorio De Sica

T. int.: Do You Like Women. Sog.: Gherardo Gherardi, Franco Riganti, dal romanzo Péntek Rézi (1937) di Rezsö Török. Scen.: Gherardo Gherardi, Vittorio De Sica, Margherita Maglione, Aldo De Benedetti. F.: Vincenzo Seratrice. M.: Mario Bonotti. Mus.: Renzo Rossellini. Scgf.: Mario Rappini. Int.: Adriana Benetti (Teresa Venerdì), Anna Magnani (Maddalena ‘Loletta’ Prima), Vittorio De Sica (dottor Pietro Vignali), Irasema Dilian (Lilli Passalacqua), Clara Auteri Pepe (Giuseppina), Zaira La Fratta (Alice), Olga Vittoria Gentili (Lola Passalacqua), Giuditta Rissone (l’istitutrice Anna). Prod.: Alleanza Cinematografica Italiana, Europa Film. DCP. D.: 92’. 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

Vittorio De Sica was the most famous comedy actor in Italy when he made this, his third film as director, following the success of Maddalena… zero in condotta. Once again, he pushed at the boundaries of the genre as if it provided a way to escape from the trappings of the cinema of the Fascist regime. He does so through the story of a hot-headed young man who is assigned the position of head physician in a female orphanage. He is surrounded by young girls who provide contour to the film’s white telephone comedy surface, as well as an endless circle of women representing a sample of character-types common in the cinema of the era: the dreamer Irasema Dilian, the teacher Giuditta Rissone, and the naïve Adriana Benetti in the role of Teresa Venerdì who is in love with the doctor. Then, of course, there is Anna Magnani in her first significant film role play-ing his lover,  the soubrette  Maddalena, a.k.a. Loletta. Her role is significant not in terms of screen time (she only appears for a few minutes), but rather for the precision with which De Sica recognises her comic talent, creating a character which is split between a pretence of elegance and a common touch that would typify many of her postwar roles (her final line is timeless: “It’s over for her, it’s over for me… we have understood one another perfectly.”) The film constitutes a dress rehearsal for Magnani as a comedienne and she enters and exits the role as if she were already a star with a clearly defined persona, grappling with a character who steps into the limelight and acts, all the while ironically commenting on her own performance. This is evident right from the start, in the irresistible scene in which she listlessly practices the song: “Here in my heart, here in my heart/ there is love/ and there is pain”.

Emiliano Morreale

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courtesy of Viggo