5 November 2019 | brogmiller
Exercise in style?
This is a slow-paced but mesmerising film by Mauro Bolognini from a particularly rich phase of his output. Plenty of 'dubbing' going on here including the voice of Claudia Cardinale in this her second of three collaborations with this director. She was 'dubbed' for years as her voice was considered too 'coarse'. Filmgoers were not to hear her real voice until 'Il Gattopardo' and 'Otto e mezzo' in 1963. Belmondo, also 'dubbed', makes the most of a thankless part. The supporting cast is strong. Paul Frankeur is 'dubbed' as one would expect. Pietro Germi, never better, is 'dubbed' as well which one would not expect. The cinematography by Leonida Barboni is fabulous and Piero Tosi won the Silver Ribbon for his superb attention to period detail as production designer. There is also an effective use of part of Debussy's Rhapsody for Saxaphone and Orchestra. A rather curious sub-plot with Romolo Valli involving anarchists that seems to go nowhere and the inconsistences of Bianca's behaviour would indicate a change of original script. Some critics dismissed this film as an 'exercise in style' but stylishness has always been one of Bolognini's strengths and his mastery of the visual makes this piece eminently watchable even if not one of his best.