Sog.: dall’omonima commedia di Luigi Pirandello. Scen.: Ennio Flaino, con la collaborazione di Francesco De Feo, Marcello Pagliero, Charles Spaak. F.: Enzo Serafin. M.: Giuliana Attenni. Scgf.: Elio Costanzi. Mus.: Franco Mannino. Int.: Eleonora Rossi Drago (Ersilia Drei), Gabriele Ferzetti (Ludovico Nota), Pierre Brasseur (il console Grotti), Micheline Francey (signora Grotti), Jacqueline Porel (la fidanzata di Ludovico), Frank Latimore (Franco Laspiga), Luigi Gambardella (Cantavalle), Edda Soligo (la tenutaria della pensione). Prod.: Attilio Riccio per CI.GRA.F. (Cinematografica Grandi Film), Eva Film, Société Française de Cinématographie (S.F.C.). DCP. D.: 104’. Bn.
Vestire gli ignudi is adapted from a Pirandello play written in 1922 in which the playwright offers a meditation on people who think of themselves as insignificant and somehow ‘naked’. They don clothing, often filthy and ragged, that others provide. In this way, they affirm their right to exist.
The script offers a dramatic account of prostitution and suicide, themes bound to attract Pagliero’s notice. The filmmaker convinced producer Attilio Riccio to set up a French co-production, which explains why so many French actors figure in the cast, including Pierre Brasseur (later seen in Mauro Bolognini’s Il bell’Antonio), Micheline Francey and Jacqueline Porel. The star is an Italian actress, Eleonora Rossi Drago whom Pagliero had directed in his episode of a French three-hander entitled Destinées. Tremulously sensitive, she was later to work with Antonioni, Germi, De Santis and Zurlini. Gabriele Ferzetti offers in this production one of his first major performances, after years of insignificant work. Frank Latimore, an American actor come to Italy in 1949, completes the cast.
The original Pirandello play was adapted by Ennio Flaiano with Marcello Pagliero, Francesco De Feo, Charles Spaak and also an uncredited Attilio Riccio. Plot and thematic content remain largely unaltered, but the film remains profoundly different to the original nonetheless. The action is set in the present, in the wheeling and dealing Rome of the Fifties. Above all, the figure of the elderly novelist, Ludovico Nota, who constitutes a watchful, outside presence in the original, becomes here a much younger and more central figure. And the character of Ersilia is made to express all the suffering of oppressed womanhood.