Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 5th, 2005
Theatrical Release Dates: Italy, December 19th, 1963
Director: Vittorio De Sica
Writers: Billa Billa, Eduardo De Filippo, Isabella Quarantotti, Cesare Zavattini
Cast: Sophia Loren, Marcello Mastroianni
DVD Released: April 26th, 2005
Approximate Running Time: 119 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English, Dolby Digital Mono Italian
DVD Release: No Shame
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
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.
Segment #3 ‘Mara’
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.
No Shame presents Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. This high definition transfer has been sourced from the restored original 2p negative and it is available for the first time ever on DVD in its original aspect ratio and uncut. The amount of detail in every frame is exceptional and black levels remain solid and constant through out. Colors are vibrant and lucid with natural looking flesh tones. Grain is kept to a minimum and there are no problems with compression. This DVD transfer is interlaced and there are some mild instances of combing. Overall the print is nearly flawless and this release is the best this film has looked in decades.
This DVD comes with two audio options the films original Italian language track and an English dubbed track. Both are presented in a Dolby Digital mono that at times sounds a little thin. The Italian audio track is in the better shape of the two. It is virtually free of any hiss or distortion. The English dubbed track suffers from distortion and some other minor sound defects like Italian dialog in some places and audio drop outs in other places. Overall the Italian audio track is only way to go as it offers the best listening experience of the two audio tracks. Despite the shortcomings of the English dubbed audio track it is nice that more companies are offering more audio options of these foreign releases which can only expand this film to a wider market. English subtitles have been included that are easy to follow and understand.
Extras include the films original U.S. trailer, credits for the films restorations and a reproduction of the original Japanese press book which includes several photo’s from the film. The Japanese press book also includes in English bios and selected filmographies Vittorio De Sica, Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren. Rounding out the extras is an extensive photo gallery that plays out more like a featurette as music from the film accompanies the photos. While it would have been nice if interviews of some kind were included the lack of their inclusion is hardly a surprise since two of the films major participants Vittorio De Sica and Marcello Mastroianni are no longer with us.
Overall No Shame has put together an impressive release that is sure to please fans of the film and win over new fans.