2 January 2005 | marcosaguado
Smaller Germi Due To Bigger Star
Pietro Germi is one of the unsung heroes of the film world. "Divorce Italian Style" catapulted him from total obscurity to partial obscurity, at least for a while. In his native Italy, naturally, he is highly regarded, considered, quite rightly, one of the best. But even then, once rarely hears Germi's name in the same breath with Fellini or De Sica, Rosellini or Antonioni. He was a sort of Preston Sturges. He ventured into varied genres in a masterful and innovative way. Think "Divorce Italian Style" and "Un Maledeto Inbroglio" "Seduced and Abandoned" and "The Birds, The Bees and The Italians" Different universes, always darkish, always funny, always brilliant. Marcello Mastroiani in Germi's hands created a miraculous character in "Divorce Italian Style" Saro Urzi was unbelievable in "Seduced and Abandoned". In "Alfredo Alfredo" everything seems a bit off. It's not the Germi I have come to know and love, I mean, not quite. I detect the presence of a virus in his system, I wonder if it is the, then, well known and feared Hoffman decease. It drove directors insane. I had heard of some pretty nutty behavior on the set of "Agatha" that lovely picture directed by Michael Apted. Here you sense that Germi is not at his freer. You sense some kind of hurry and frustration, never before evident in a Germi film. I'm of course, merely speculating but I can't help wonder that if this is a smaller Petri, is due, in great part, to the bigger star. I suppose we'll never know so don't bother, run to your nearest "smart" video place and get all of Pietro Germi's films pre-Alfredo Alfredo.