Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 27th, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, December 19th, 1963
Director: Vittorio De Sica
Writers: Billa Billa, Eduardo De Filippo, Isabella Quarantotti, Cesare Zavattini
Cast: Sophia Loren, Marcello Mastroianni
BluRay released: May 17st, 2011
Approximate running times: 119 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: Dolby TrueHD Mono Italian
BluRay Release: Kino Lorber
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $39.95
Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow is a trio of stories that all feature Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni. In 1964 this film would take home the Best Foreign Film Oscar. Director Vittorio De Sica frequently cast Loren and Mastroianni in many of his films including three films a trio of films in which they would star together. Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow is a more light hearted affair then you typical Vittorio De Sica film.
Segment #1 ‘Adelina’
Carmine Sbaratti (Marcello Mastroianni) owes back taxes. The tax man arrives to collect his possessions to pay for the debt only to walk into an empty house. Carmine and his friends hide the contents of the house before the tax man arrived and not it appears that their little game of deception could land his wife Adelina Sbaratti (Sophia Loren) in jail. Carmine is unemployed and hasn’t worked in a while. Adelina sells cigarettes on the black market and is the families on hope for income. They soon learn of a way to keep Adelina out of jail all she has to do is remain pregnant and she won’t have to go to jail.
This first segment Adelina is the longest of the three segments. The performances of the two leads and the whimsical nature of this tale add to its broad comedic canvas. The premise is simple every time Adelina gives she must then get pregnant right away to avoid jail. By the time the couple gets to their seventh child he is worn out mentally and physically. Vittorio De Sica direction along with the films use of natural locations adds to the films realistic look.
Segment #2 ‘Anna’
Anna Molteni (Sophia Loren) is having an affair with Renzo (Marcello Mastroianni). She is the wife of a rich businessman and he is a poor writer. They meet one morning at a discreet location before going on a road trip together. Things start to go wrong after Renzo crashes Anna’s Mercedes into a tractor. This leads to them bickering which ends up pushing them farther apart.
Anna is the shortest of the three segments. Most of the action takes place in the Mercedes. These shots inside and around the car are beautifully composed and add to the films building tension. Overall I found the two lead characters in this story be too one dimensional and inaccessible.
Mara (Sophia Loren) is a prostitute who lives next door to a young man who is about to enter the priest hood. Augusto Rusconi (Marcello Mastroianni) is one of Mara’s clients who is infatuated with her and he has just arrived in town on business. Things start to unravel when Mara befriends Umberto the young man who wants to be a priest. In order to correct the damage she has caused Mara promises god (via prayer) not to have sex for a week if he helps her convince Umberto that the priesthood is his calling. While all of this is happening Augusto Rusconi has spent the last two days getting all hot and bothered by Mara’s teasing with no relief in sight.
The final segment Mara is best of the three included for this anthology. In this segment we get to see Sophia Loren at her best as she seduces men with her undeniable charm. Marcello Mastroianni gives one of his most physical performances since Federico Fellini’s 8 ½ as he shows his mastery of slap stick comedy. My favorite moment in the segment is shortly after we are introduced to Mastroianni’s character and he tells Loren’s character to put on a school girl’s outfit because it reminds him of his niece. From this moment on he has cemented his characters motivations and desires. The relationship between Mara and the young man who wants to become a priest is playful at best and it never verges on vulgar. This final segment also features Sophia Loren’s infamous strip tease. I can only imagine the furor it caused back then since it is as sensual as ever with Loren looks drop dead gorgeous.
Overall If you are a fan of comedy laced with sexual innuendos that has an Italian flavor to it, I recommend you check out Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.
Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. There are no problems with compression, colors look vibrant, flesh tones look accurate and the source used for this transfer is in very good shape. And even though the image generally looks crisp, there are several instances where the image tends to lack the same amount of detail which is present for the bulk of this transfer. There is a consistent layer of grain throughout and DNR varies in degree throughout. When compared to No Shame’s DVD release this new release improves upon that release in every way. Another area in which this release trumps the aforementioned release from No Shame is that this release from Kino Lorber is flagged for progressive playback, while the No Shame release was interlaced.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby TrueHD Mono mix in Italian. Range wise this mix is rather limited and at times sounds flat. With this being said dialog does come through clearly and there are no problems with distortion or background noise. Also included with this release are removable English subtitles that are easy to follow and error free.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (4 minutes 12 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles), a stills gallery and trailers for Marriage Italian Style (1 minutes 50 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles) and Sunflower (3 minutes 59 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles).
Also included with this release is a second disc (a single layer DVD) which comes with trailers for Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, Marriage Italian Style and Sunflower, five stills galleries ‘The Bicycle Thief’, ‘Two Women’, ‘Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’, ‘Marriage Italian Style’, ‘Sofia’ and a feature length documentary about Vittorio De Sica titled ‘Vittorio D’ (95 minutes 26 seconds, in Italian / English with English subtitles). Having recently seen another documentary about Vittorio De Sica that was included as part of Arrow Academy’s BluRay / DVD combo release of The Bicycle Thief. I was expecting there to be a lot of information retreaded in the documentary included with this release. On the contrary there is a wealth of information that can be gleaned from the ‘Vittorio D’ documentary which does a superb job not only covering the various stages of Vittorio De Sica’s career as an actor and director, but also who he was outside of the film industry. Overall yet another release of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow that leaves room for improvement.
Note: Kino Lorber are also releasing Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow on DVD.