Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 29th, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, December 18th, 1964
Director: Vittorio De Sica
Writers: Renato Castellani, Tonino Guerra, Leonardo Benvenuti, Piero De Bernardi
Cast: Sophia Loren, Marcello Mastroianni, Aldo Puglisi, Tecla Scarano, Marilù Tolo, Gianni Ridolfi, Generoso Cortini, Vito Moricone, Rita Piccione
BluRay released: May 17st, 2011
Approximate running times: 102 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: Dolby TrueHD Mono Italian
BluRay Release: Kino Lorber
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $29.95
Synopsis: After learning that the man that she has devoted the last twenty years of her life too is planning on leaving her and marrying another woman. The mistress of a wealthy playboy concocts a plot that will finally force him to marry her. Unfortunate he quickly gets wise to her scheme and throws her out on the street. Not willing to give up just yet, she reveals that she has had a total of three children over the time that they were together. And to further complicate the situation only one of these three children is his, but which one?
Marriage Italian Style was directed by Vittorio De Sica, a versatile Italian filmmaker who is most known for his neorealist films like The Bicycle Thief and Umberto D. For Marriage Italian Style Vittorio De Sica would re-team which actors Marcello Mastroianni (8 1/2) and Sophia Loren (Two Women), after working with them a year before on the Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (winner of the 1965 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film). In all he would work Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren a total of three times, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, Marriage Italian Style and Sunflower. The screenplay for Marriage Italian Style was adapted from a play that was written by Eduardo De Filippo, who also directed his own version in 1951 under the title Filumena Marturano. The cinematographer on Marriage Italian Style was Roberto Gerardi, who’s other notable credits include The Last Days of Mussolini and To Be Twenty. The score for Marriage Italian Style was composed by Armando Trovajoli, who’s other notable scores include Hercules in the Haunted World, Boccaccio ’70 (‘La riffa’ segment) and Manhunt.
Troubled love affairs have been the basis for countless films throughout the history. And yet few, if any come close to capturing the highs and lows of a relationship like Marriage Italian Style does. The narrative is told primarily via flashbacks that do a superb job setting up and explaining who everyone is and what their motivations are? Also another one of this film’s strengths is how the plot leads you in one direction and then takes an abrupt turn that leads the viewer down another path. It is also these plot’s twists that offer up some of this film’s most sublime comedic moments. With the film’s greatest revelation of course saved for its finale.
Even though the evolution of its two main characters relationship are perfectly laid out. One must not overlook or underestimate the contributions of this film’s two leads actors, Marcello Mastroianni in the role of womanizer named Domenico Soriano and Sophia Loren in the role of a former prostitute named Filumena Marturano that has been pining to Domenico’s wife for twenty years . With the slight edge going to Sophia Loren, who often in this film transcends her the sexual persona that she is most known for portraying. This is not to say that the film does not play up her more than ample assets. They are just used in moderation. Her most compelling moments are the scenes in which her characters more maternal instincts are explored. On the flip side, Marcello Mastroianni’s performance offers up the majority of this film strongest comedic moments. Just take a look at his characters facial expressions every time Filumena his mistress tricks him into doing something he clearly does not want to be a part of.
A few of this film’s more memorable moments include the scene where Domenico Soriano and Filumena Marturano meet for the first during an air raid at a whore house. Other standout moment includes a scene where Filumena Marturano struts down the street in a brand new dress and the scene in which Domenico Soriano learns that he has been duped into to marrying Filumena Marturano, who he thought was at deaths bed. Ultimately Marriage Italian Style is a satisfying mix of melodrama and humor.
Marriage Italian Style comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. Colors and contrast levels fluctuate throughout. Black levels range from mediocre to average at best. Darker scenes often lack clarity, outside of these darker moments the bulk of the film generally looks crisp. There are no problems with compression and DNR is minimal. Overall the source used for this transfer is pretty beat up and the end result is at times underwhelming.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby TrueHD Mono mix in Italian. Even though dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced, range wise the audio lacks any depth and often sounds flat. There are no major issues with background noise or distortion. Also included with this release are removable English subtitles that are easy to follow and error free.
Extras for this release include a theatrical promo (3 minutes 41 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles) and theatrical trailer for the film (1 minutes 50 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles) and a stills gallery and trailers for Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (4 minutes 12 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles) and Sunflower (3 minutes 59 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles). Overall Marriage Italian Style gets a inconsistent audio / video presentation from Kino Lorber.
Note: Kino Lorber are also releasing Marriage Italian Style on DVD.