Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
Italy/France, 1961. Zebra Films, Orsay Films. Adaptation by Franco Solinas, Antonello Trombadori, Screenplay by Roberto Rossellini, Diego Fabbri, based on the short story Chronique Italienne by Stendhal. Cinematography by Luciano Trasatti. Produced by Moris Ergas. Music by Renzo Rossellini. Production Design by Luigi Scaccianoce. Costume Design by Riccardo Domenici, Danilo Donati. Film Editing by Daniele Alabiso, Mario Serandrei.
The odd political conversation between scenes of overripe romance remind one that this is the work of one of the architects of neo-realism, Roberto Rossellini. The rest of the time you’re awash in a dull love affair in one of the filmmaker’s least interesting films, as princess Sandra Milo finds herself madly in love with a “freemason” rebel (Laurent Terzieff), one of the legions of fighters whose idealistic vision of a unified Italy would lead to the risorgimento. Milo is torn between her devotion to her class and her burning passion for the handsome stud, who makes her so crazy that she eventually goes out of her way to keep him and, in doing so, causes more harm than good. Produced on a giant scale with wonderfully plush sets and glittering costumes, the film’s pace is wooden and the dialogue tends to drone on, particularly when delivered by a shockingly dull Terzieff as the male lead. Milo is pure passion, poised and lovely in every scene and every inch the opposite of the fiery sex goddesses she portrayed in her famous Fellini roles, but her character barely jumps off the screen and all her efforts are lost in the shuffle.