I Saw A Film!
Meanwhile, the Italians were cooking up these fantastic darkly-comic jealously-filled raging, infidelity stories. Ugo Tagnazzi has it made! Married to the fabulous Claudia Cardinale and beloved on the side by Christiana who visits him in hotel rooms and readily plays sexy fantasy games for him. Poor suffering idiot! Here’s where the joke comes in. He begins suspecting his gorgeous wife of cheating on him. At first, just a bit, but soon enough he’s angrily eyeballing young men who ogle his wife at their many social get-togethers (where are these things? suited parties with drinks and jealousy–good stuff), but soon enough our protagonist’s mind is twisting his confidence into knots.
Lots of humor is based on things we’ll all be able to identify with. In Italy, as in much of the world, the men are openly provided a kind of winking tolerance with their hungry eyes and roaming hormonal desires. Whereas the ladies are supposed to remain devoted and free of desire. Uh huh. Well, we see Cardinale as blameless. She’s frustrated with her husband’s increasing nonsense, spying and following her, suspecting everything, eventually starting a huge blow out emotional fight that is just cringingly embarrassing. But, are we sure? Ugo crashes the car in his rage, and we feel like we’re not just being shown a hilarious clown on an adventure in his own silly head, but also a warning. Stop holding people to unnecessary standards. Quit your overly dependent emotional childishness. We adore Claudia, her lovely dancing in Ugo’s fantasies, and her endless beauty contest, smiling charm win us immediately. Little Ugo, debonair though he is is hard to identify with. Is Claudia innocent? Probably not, and we’re shown a brief sweetness to drive home her secret life as well.
Do we get to have secret lives? Should we protect our secrets? Is truth really truth, honesty really honesty? Can we hold one another to standards we don’t intend to keep? Ah those Italians!
free on Prime! and while you’ll need to turn your subtitles on if you don’t handle Italian, it’s a lot of fun to immerse in this old movie.
2 thoughts on “The Magnificent Cuckold (1964)”
I applaud this heroic effort to make Prime seem like the Criterion collection; amazing to find this kind of stuff, all it recommends for me is Angel Has Fallen…
It has it’s corners! Granted I did go in and fill my viewing block with Godard and Brunuel!