Gemma, daughter of a lodger, is in love with her half-brother, but since she cannot marry him she ends up marrying a teacher. She doesn't love him and betrays him but is blackmailed by a ... See full summary »
This is a measured version, some might say 'too measured', of the novel by Alberto Moravia. It certainly takes a while to get going but once the characters are established it gathers momentum and keeps one gripped until the end. Technically the film is superb. The composition and framing is exemplary as one would expect with Mario Soldati as director and both G.R. Aldo and Domenico Scala behind the camera. The film is topped and tailed by the sounds of a piano played by a neighbour but the film is otherwise without music which is most effective. The characters are finely drawn. Elvira is a monster and is played with relish by Alda Mangini. Both Gina Lollobrigida and Gabriele Ferzetti were beginning to make their mark. She won the Golden Goblet for her portayal of Gemma and he the Silver Ribbon as Franco. The best roles were still to come for Ferzetti of course but whether the same applies to La Lollo is a moot point. A satisfying film that bears revisiting.