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Eclipse Series 27: Raffaello Matarazzo's Runaway Melodramas

Reviewer: Philip Tatler IV

Ratings (out of 5): Chains **** ; Tormento **** ½ ; Nobody's Children **** ; The White Angel *** ½ ; Series ****

Chains (1949), the first film in Eclipse’s Raffaello Matarazzo set, begins simply enough: a stolen car breaks down and the thief, desperate to avoid apprehension, hides out at a mechanic’s garage. 388 minutes and four films later, 1955’s The White Angel closes the set with a standoff between a fearless nun and a group of ruthless female inmates who are holding an infant hostage.

These two scenes best illustrate the milieu of Director Raffaello Matarazzo, one of Italy’s most commercially successful filmmakers. Matarazzo’s films vacillate violently between the mundane and the histrionic, more than earning the set’s label: "Runaway Melodramas". Those who prefer subtlety in their storytelling have received fair warning.

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