Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. Italy, 1941. Alleanza Cinematografica Italiana, Europa Film. Screenplay by Vittorio De Sica, Gherardo Gherardi, Margherita Maglione, Franco Riganti, based on the novel by Rezso Torok. Cinematography by Vincenzo Seratrice. Music by Renzo Rossellini. Production Design by Ottavio Scotti. Film Editing by Mario Bonotti.
Early Vittorio de Sica comedy shows the master of hard-hitting realism displaying just as deft a touch with light comedy. De Sica himself stars as an inept pediatrician who collects more debts than patients, mostly spending money to please his high maintenance music hall singer girlfriend (Anna Magnani). His father refuses to help him pay off his creditors, but he does secure him a position as health inspector at a local orphanage for a regular pay cheque. While there, de Sica meets a beautiful young woman who is in her last year at the institution, whose sympathy with him gets them into no end of trouble when she decides to run away and hide out at his home. French bedroom farce complications ensue that make for a delightfully frothy treat; it isn’t quite memorable, but while you’re watching it you’ll have a great time.