Four complete segments, each directed by a master filmmaker and starring an extraordinary cast of international stars: "Renzo & Luciana", directed by Mario Monicelli (BIG DEAL ON MADONNA STREET) was cut to shorten the film for its international release and it's shown here for the first time ever in America. "The Temptation of Doctor Antonio" directed by Federico Fellini (LA DOLCE VITA, 8 1/2) and starring Anita Ekberg (LA DOLCE VITA), enlighten by a dreamy humoristic touch, it's considered by many to be the best Fellini's work ever! "The Job", directed by Luchino Visconti (THE LOEPARD, ROCCO AND HIS BROTHERS) stars Romy Schneider (WHAT'S NEW, PUSSYCAT) and future genre icon Tomas Milian (TRAFFIC, ALMOST HUMAN). A witty contemplation of marriage with an attention to details was the trademark of the Visconti's incomparable style. Finally, "The Raffle", an earthy comic romp directed by Vittorio De Sica (THE BICYCLE THIEF, TWO WOMEN) and starring Sophia Loren (YESTERDAY, TODAY AND TOMORROW, TWO WOMEN) as a woman who causes all sorts of problems for herself when she offers her favors as the prize in a lottery.
BOCCACCIO '70 is presented in a widescreen anamorphic digital transfer, loaded with never seen before extras, including a rare behind-the-scene archival footage
A summit meeting of great Italian directors of the era, Boccaccio '70
is an antipasto platter of vintage sex symbols and naughty material. Cooked up and bankrolled by Carlo Ponti and American producer Joseph E. Levine, the four-part film was meant to tap the international smash of Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita
, which gave audiences some refreshingly, you know, "mature" subject matter. Four directors were hired to create segments ostensibly based on the tales of Boccaccio: Fellini himself (in the lull between La Dolce Vita
), Luchino Visconti, Vittorio De Sica, and Mario Monicelli.
Monicelli's story, Renzo and Luciana, is an agreeable tale, full of everyday Roman life: an office worker (Marisa Solinas) must marry her boyfriend when she gets pregnant--although marriage is against company rules. Fellini's segment, The Temptation of Dr. Antonio, is fantastical and big-scaled. It tells of a censorious bluenose (Peppino de Filippo) who becomes incensed at the presence of a billboard featuring a sexy portrait of Anita Ekberg (selling milk)--a portrait that comes to life. For this bizarre escapade, Nino Rota composed an advertising jingle that will stick in your mind whether you want it to or not.
Visconti's The Job is the best segment, tracking the emotional chess game between a playboy (Thomas Milian) and his wife (Romy Schneider at her most gorgeous) after he is publicly exposed in a sex scandal. Finally, the De Sica piece (The Raffle) is a fairly broad romp that uses Sophia Loren as the reward in a raffle. Sophia's delicious, needless to say.
The finished product weighed in at a whopping 208 minutes, and Monicelli's segment was lopped off before the film showed at the Cannes Film Festival. It has never been restored, until this DVD release. All the segments are frankly too long, and none qualifies as an essential gem, but they do give the flavor of Italy's best at an especially exciting cinematic moment. --Robert Horton