25 March 2020 | ulicknormanowen
Silvana Pampanini as Nannina.
With hindsight ,"la bella di Roma" cannot be considered a great Comencini .His first real masterpiece was its follow-up "la finestra sul Luna Park " which inaugurated a series of unforgettable classics about childhood such as " incompreso" " Pinocchio " "Voltati Eugenio" " cuore " " Marcellino " not to mention his comedies extraordinaire such as "lo scopone scientifico " or" l'ingorgo" .
It does not mean "la bella" is bad ,even though it cannot be mentioned in the same breath as the above-mentioned works.
la bella Nannina is estranged from her fiance who's in jail for some time;she is wooed by a restaurant owner who proposes her and an upholsterer ,a married bourgeois .Tired of his cantakerous sister-in-law, the former suggests Nannina open a trattoria with him (he would finance and would be her associate).But he is old .And the fiancé is out of jail : he fails as a boxer ,and becomes a balloon man ,he is young and handsome .But he is poor.
The third suitor cannot marry her but ,although sanctimonious (as his holier-than-thou wife) , he is a hypocrit who desires Nannina . Albert Sordi ,the future Peppino in " lo scopone scientifico" ,shines in this part of a pater familias , tangled in religion ,routine ,and a wife who made a vow of chastity ,to thank Virgin Mary for bringing her brat home :you should see Sordi's face when the beaming spouse shows him ...twin beds .
Let's notice that Comencini never forgets the children : Gracco is a good father,though sometimes violent. And as often in Comencini's work, tragedy walks hand in hand with comedy :it's when ,in despair, he goes to the morgue that he learns the good news ...to be followed by a bad one soon.
"La Bella " features the longest rosary in a movie ,complete with two nuns ,and no,it's never dull.
By no means a great Comencini ,but an entertaining one for sure!