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  • Somehow this film of Flavio Calzavara has slipped under the radar and I am entering virgin territory by being the first to review it. Following the opening of Cinecitta studios in 1937 and a system of financial subsidies Italian film production increased considerably although the emphasis was more on quantity than quality. In my humble opinion this one belongs to the second category. Its leading lady, Doris Durante, made nigh on thirty films before the end of the War. She wisely decided to make a speedy exit to South America as her lover was a minister in Mussolini's government. He was later to be shot by partisans and his corpse hung up next to that of Il Duce. She resurfaced in 1948. Her co-star, German actor Gustav Diessl made quite a few films in Italy during the war years. Both of them bring their own air of mystery to this strange and fascinating film about a painter and his love for a former prostitute whose past comes back to haunt her. Even with an indifferent print one can recognise the extraordinary cinematography of Hungarian Gabor Pogany, probably best known for his work on de Sica's 'Two Women'. There is also an excellent performance by Aldo Silvani as a lecherous bilbliophile. Two charismatic stars and oodles of atmosphere make this mesmerising film a very pleasing discovery.