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Divorce Italian Style

The Criterion Collection

DVD

4.5 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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(Apr 26, 2005)
The Criterion Collection
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Baron Ferdinando Cefalù (Marcello Mastroianni) longs to marry his nubile cousin Angela, but one obstacle stands in his way: his fatuous and fawning wife, Rosalia. His solution? Since divorce is illegal, he will devise a scenario wherein he can catch his spouse in the arms of another and murder her to save his honor-a lesser offense. Criterion is proud to present director Pietro Germi's hilarious and cutting satire of Italy's hypocritical judicial system and male-dominated culture, winner of the 1962 Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, in a two-disc DVD edition that also features a documentary on the director, new interviews with the actors and screenwriter, screen-test footage, and more.

Amazon.com

Divorce Italian Style is a comedy milestone--a brilliant, biting satire that was originally conceived as a drama; directed with nonstop inventiveness by a filmmaker who had never done comedy; and featuring an actor who, though not even among the first dozen players considered, cemented his international stardom with this performance. The movie also marked a breakthrough for foreign film in America, winning popular as well art-house success, Academy Award nominations for director Pietro Germi and star Marcello Mastroianni, and--the first of only a few foreign-language films to do so--the Oscar itself for Original Screenplay.

On the sun-blasted island of Sicily, Baron Ferdinand "Fefè" Cefalù (Mastroianni) breaks out of his heat- and boredom-induced stupor long enough to be smitten with mad passion for his 16-year-old cousin Angela (Stefania Sandrelli). But he's married--to Rosalia (Daniela Rocca), she of the unfortunate mustache--and the Italian Penal Code gives him no way out... except, of course, for catching his wife in adultery and availing himself of the patriarchal license to commit a "crime of honor." So Fefè searches for a way to fling Rosalia into the arms of another man.

Mastroianni's Fefè is an indelible masterpiece, visually and behaviorally: a portrait in painterly chiaroscuro, with brilliantined hair, eternally drooping eyelids, a cigarette holder angled in perpetual salute, and a manic, conspiratorial slouch, like Groucho Marx on painkillers. Germi's direction hustles the film along with bold, mobile camerawork, stream-of-consciousness lurches into fantasy and flashback, Fefè's feverish voiceover commentary, and a wonderfully propulsive music score by the late Carlo Rustichelli. --Richard T. Jameson


Special features

  • Pietro Germi: The Man with the Cigar in His Mouth, a 39-minute documentary by critic and filmmaker Mario Sesti
  • Delighting in Contrasts, a new 30-minute interview featuring Stefania Sandrelli, Lando Buzzanca, and Mario Sesti
  • Rare screen-test footage of actresses Daniela Roca and Stefania Sandrelli
  • A new essay by film critic Stuart Klawans

Product details

  • Actors: Marcello Mastroianni, Daniela Rocca, Stefania Sandrelli, Leopoldo Trieste, Odoardo Spadaro
  • Directors: Pietro Germi
  • Writers: Pietro Germi, Agenore Incrocci, Alfredo Giannetti, Ennio De Concini
  • Producers: Franco Cristaldi
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: April 26, 2005
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B0007M222A
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,990 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
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