(out of 5)
Lurid psychological melodrama that pushes the limits of credibility but never ventures into the absurd. The enveloping plot begins with a disturbing occurrence when a Florentine girl named Maddalena (Phyllis Calvert) is raped in the woods by a Gypsy. Years later, she is married to a wealthy man in Rome and ready to welcome home her daughter, now graduated from the English education Maddalena sent her to years before without visiting her in the interim. Mother and daughter get along extremely well despite the fact that the elder of the two longs to hold to her conservative Catholic ways and the younger lady is anxious to bring her mother up to date with the freewheeling present (she wears shorts!) Then a moment of trauma sets everything askew and Maddalena completely disappears, which is where the story switches gears and gets about as juicy as your favourite Victorian sensation novels: a Gypsy man (played by a young Stewart Granger in pancake makeup) has a passion for his dangerous lady love Roseanna, who only appears to him when it suits her. The film is also about as racist as your favourite sensation novels, with Gypsies inextricably linked to dishonesty and violence in that most fatalistically romantic of ways. Still, it’s good stuff, ruled by a terrific performance in the lead by the lovely Calvert, and rounded out by a stalwart cast of supporting characters.
Directed by Arthur Crabtree
Cinematography by Jack E. Cox
Produced by R.J. Minney
Production Design by Andrew Mazzei
Costume Design by Elizabeth Haffenden
Film Editing by Lito Carruthers