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  • Warning: Spoilers
    "La ragazza del bersagliere" is a pleasant, semi-frivolous love story about the romance between Anita, a barber in a town in Emilia, and Salvatore, a Neapolitan "bersagliere" sharpshooter from a nearby military camp. They are played with a modicum of chemistry by Graziella Granata and Antonio Casagrande. She's had romances with many of the locals, but it is Antonio who captures her heart. They plan to marry, prepare a home together. Trouble is, he dies in a rather silly drowning accident after too much eating.

    He doesn't leave her though, and that is the central gimmick of this contrived movie, but she and his constantly appearing ghost continue the romance, with Salvatore preventing any other serious attachment between Anita and other men in the town. When the girl finally does almost marry another man, Salvatore interrupts the wedding, and Anita runs off, is shot on the army rifle range, and is able to join her ghostly love in Purgatory. She herself is destined for heaven and so must commit a little mental peccadillo to be with him from the start.

    While this film is quite watchable, it hardly rises to any level of art or even good entertainment, and has all the weight of a TV situation comedy. The subordinate cast is pretty decent in thankless roles, particularly Rossano Brazzi, Franca Valeri, Renato Salvatori, and Vittorio Caprioli.

    Director Alessandro Blasetti's greatest films were made from the 1930s to the 1950s, with special nods to "1860," "Ettore Fieramosca," "The Iron Crown," "Quattro passi fra le nuvole," which I consider his masterpiece, "Fabiola," and the wonderful Aldo Fabrizi comedy "Prima Comunione." This is a much lesser work than any of those.