Saturday, January 3, 2009


How could I go wrong? Here was a DVD with two Euro movies I'd never heard of going for a dollar in a bargain store. It's Brentwood's "Bombshell Double Feature," and I started with this Italian item by Francesco Maselli, starring Virna Lisi. There's really not much to say about this one. Lisi is attractive, and so are the streets of Milan at night, but the story was just too implausible, and since this is not a genre film, that's virtually fatal. Lisi plays a young woman, a struggling actress-model in fact, who's found in the street and reported to be the latest victim in a series of abductions and rapes. Somehow she becomes a media celebrity in the process, reaping all kinds of rewards for her ordeal in a Capra-esque "cinderella man" scenario. Meanwhile, suspects are arrested and accused of the crime, and despite her doubts she's pressured by investigators into confirming their guilt. But her doubt is well-founded, since she faked her entire victimization in a desperate yet successful attempt to call attention to herself. Unfortunately, her determination to stick with her story puts innocent men in peril of prison, particularly the husband of a virtuous woman played by the Israeli actress Haya Harareet, best known during her short career as Charlton Heston's love interest in the 1959 Ben-Hur. Once the stakes become clear, everything plays out rather predictably, and the film basically grinds to a halt with Harareet calling on everyone to face the truth about things. I'm sure this film would look very nice properly presented, since I didn't think it looked bad even on this bargain-basement disc. But you're either going to believe that the scenario could happen, or you won't, and it was just too implausible for me.

One thing the box cover got bass-ackwards is the date of the film. It claims a 1965 vintage, and I had a feeling that it wasn't that recent. It turns out that La Donna del giorno ("the girl of the day," I guess) was made in 1956. It's not a widely seen item, or so I assume from the fact that no one has posted a review on IMDB. Fans of Virna Lisi, who went on to better things, and of Italian cinema in general should find this an item of interest, but others could probably save their fifty cents.

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