Raffaello Matarazzo

Sog.: Liberio Bovio, Gaspare Di Majo; Scen.: Aldo De Benedetti; F.: Tino Santoni; Mo.: Mario Serandrei; Scgf.: Ottavio Scotti; Mu.: Gino Campese; Int.: Amedeo Nazzari (Carlo Guarnieri), Yvonne Sanson (Anna Ferrari), Annibale Betrone (Gaetano Ferrari), Mario Ferrari (L’avvocato), Teresa Franchini (Rosina), Tina Lattanzi (Matilde Ferrari), Aldo Nicode- Mi (Ruffini), Giuditta Rissone (Madre Celeste), Vittorio Sanipoli (Rossi), Roberto Murolo (Enzo Sandri), Rosalia Randazzo (Dinuccia); Prod.: Giuseppe Bordogni Per Labor Film, Tita- Nus; Pri. Pro.: 25 Novembre 1950; 35mm. D.: 94′. 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

It was a huge box office success and audiences in the countryside and suburbs still get teary-eyed watching it. (…) Just as in other serialized film, it has the same tried and true mixture of elements for success: innocence, beauty, honesty, and hard work, offended and poisoned by arrogance, wealth and injustice. All of this in a “family story”: a child, a mother’s sacrifice, the torment of separation; the anguish that only this mother can feel (“She is a saint”); poverty and hard work confronted with insolent wealth; a fat double-chinned nun. And a famous song that Murolo sings filmed in two parts, like in any traditional popular melodrama and in the sceneggiata. Then there are moments of comic distraction (…). At the climax the director eases up on the audience’s overly teary emotions with a comedic shot of the jailguard awkwardly holding the baby (…). Along with these harmless scenes though, there is a darker side: taking advantage of the weaknesses (tired resignation, falling back on miracles) of the poor souls. The church is every- where: causing, resolving and stopping the most varied and unexpected circumstances; ever-present in all of the characters’ actions, taking credit for what is pure luck and guaranteeing a reward to those who accept their circumstances with resignation. With the manipulation of the church-Christ-Virgin Mary-nun plot, the film aims at a kind of run-down pathos (…). The duplicity in this part of the story stems more from the script (Aldo De Benedetti) than from the film’s direction (Raffaello Matarazzo). Matarazzo is the symbol of 1950s serialized pro­duction (which no longer exists in cinema, but has survived in television), that guides cinema through the web of convention- al emotions. (…) A few years ago I invited Mattarazzo to a school to meet with young students who had watched a collection of his films. The students had the overall impression that he was an honest person (“thirty-seven millions people have seen my films”, he often repeated), candid in his defence of certain principles. (…)”.

Pio Baldelli, Il cinema popolare degli anni Cinquanta, in Catalo­go Bolaffi del cinema italiano 1945-1965, a cura di Gianni Rondolino, Bolaffi, Torino, 1967

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