Editor, U.S. ; Dallas, Texas (@HatefulJosh)
Kino International:
One of the most famous, and funniest, Italian comedies of all time, Marriage Italian Style received nominations for Best Foreign Language Film, and Best Actress for Sophia Loren, at the Academy Awards®.

Marcello Mastroianni co-stars as the irrepressibly carnal businessman Domenico, who discovers Loren's Filumena as a young prostitute and keeps her as his mistress and confidante. When he chooses to marry a young cashier instead of her, Filumena is furious, and resorts to a series of wild and hilarious ruses to win back his hand.

Directed by the great Vittorio De Sica (The Bicycle Thief), Marriage Italian Style is a timelessly bawdy classic.
Vittorio De Sica's run of films starring Sophia Loren (and Marcello Mastroianni, whose name doesn't rate mentioning on this set) during the 60's was absolutely outstanding, and this is no exception.  Marriage, Italian Style is a black as pitch comedy battles of the sexes.  The film begins as a tragedy, though very quickly, De Sica switched the masks, and we are met with a very engaging chronology of a very complicated relationship between Mastroianni's successful businessman and his kept woman, in the stunning form of Sophia Loren.  From there on out, the two battle to one up each other constantly, with underhandedness being the order of the day.  Each takes his turn on top, but ultimately, who wins in this battle?

Vittorio De Sica was on a hot streak when Marriage, Italian Style was released in 1964, the year after Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, and only a few years after his first film with Loren, Two Women.  He took a broad turn into comedy with Yesterday and Marriage, Italian Style, and proved himself a master of the genre.  Sophia Loren is the ultimate sympathetic character, she is ill, but never weak; frail, but never in danger; and vulnerable, but always in charge.  If you add to that list the fact that even under fifteen pounds of makeup designed to age her far beyond her years, she remains luminous onscreen, it becomes hard to root for anyone but her, despite her devious behavior.

Upon its New York premiere, Times writer, Bosley Crowther said of Marriage Italian Style's dueling leads:
Miss Loren is delightfully eccentric, flashy and formidable, yet stiff in her middle-class rigidity and often poignant in her real anxieties. And Mr. Mastroianni is marvelous as the elegant, egotistical male, wanting to eat his cake and have it, which, of course, is impossible.
This adequately describes their relationship onscreen, and that friction translates beautifully into moments both of utter hilarity and great sincerity.  I highly recommend this film.  If you haven't seen it, now is the time to remedy that.

The Disc:

The first of these discs that I reviewed, Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, had its issues with softness and print damage, and I'm a little bit sad to say that this Blu-ray suffers from those issues and more.  In addition to moderate, not horrible, softness and some minor initial print damage near the beginning of the film, there are numerous occasions of flickering brightness and color fluctuations throughout the film.  It doesn't seem like has undergone the kind of restoration that I, and most fans, would have liked.  It looks okay, but with such a beautiful film with such intricate characters, I had hoped for better.  The audio does fare better with a Dolby TrueHD 1.0 Mono track that seems to deliver the goods better than the video portion.

In the way of extras, all we have here are the original trailer, which clocks in at around 3:30, and a gallery of related photos.  Nothing much to speak of.

Like I mentioned above, the film is absolutely fantastic, and I highly recommend it, though I'm not sure that this is a substantive upgrade from DVD.  For those of you out there, like me, who only want Blu-ray if the film is available in the format, by all means, get it.  The film is a classic that satisfies on every level, and while it comes up only just short of the pure joy that is Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, it still deserves a place in any serious collection.

Marriage Italian Style

  • Vittorio De Sica
  • Eduardo De Filippo (play)
  • Renato Castellani (screenplay)
  • Tonino Guerra (screenplay)
  • Leonardo Benvenuti (screenplay)
  • Piero De Bernardi (screenplay)
  • Sophia Loren
  • Marcello Mastroianni
  • Aldo Puglisi
  • Tecla Scarano
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Vittorio De SicaEduardo De FilippoRenato CastellaniTonino GuerraLeonardo BenvenutiPiero De BernardiSophia LorenMarcello MastroianniAldo PuglisiTecla ScaranoComedyDramaRomance

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