A unique love tragedy in a small town in rural Sicily
Pork Chop | Lisbon, Portugal | 02/03/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"a"La Moglie piu bella ... The most beautiful wife", filmed by Damiano
Damiani, in 1969 and 1970 is a remarkable movie even 37 years later,
The cinematographical quality is excellent, from the sharpness of the
images, the quality of the dialog, and the generous wide-screen
presentation of the filming. The picture, in color, doesn't seem to
have aged, except for the vehicles shown in the streets, mainly Fiat
compacts and Alfa Romeus.
Clearly, Ornella Muti is the star of this picture, by her natural
acting ability, charisma, confidence and ability to blend into the
story, playing a peasant 15 year old girl, who's a mobster's object
of desire in rural Sicily.
Alessio Orano, with his youthful looks, yet sinister inner demons,
plays a man who decides to forcibly compel Ornella into marriage,
despite his belligerant, aggressive, arrogant, self-centered
The movie is not so much a love story, or even, a mobster story, but
a unique love tragedy, apparently based in a poor and small farm town
of perhaps 4,000 residents.
With so many movies candy-coating romance, the director chose a more
realistic approach, standing out for this reason.
The underworld presence ( organized criminal gangs) and its
associated corruption of public works contracts, influence peddling
on public officials, and manipulation of the criminal justice
system, is acknowleged in this Sicilian location.
The power of this film on spectators, is the tension and
psychological complexities that are felt, as the entire savings of a
small farmer is threatened of instant anihilation with and his
family's lives at stake as blow-back from the the mobter, should he
move forward with his complaint in the courts.
The godfather, warns the youth, Vito a soldier, against chasing
women, advising instead to focus on work and family alone. But, in
carrying out his advice, the whole plan spins out of control.
The script skillfully articulates the perils of social pressure on
one's reputation and economic ruin when one opposes evil forces of
the criminal underground. The risks of being ostracized is very
real. Similarly, the mobster is very sensitive to ridicule,
disrespect, controversy over his own marital status and fiance's
behavior, by his friends, in the organization and among the public.
As such, threats, secret oaths, violence, pistols, rival crime gangs,
the obligation of beneficiaries of corruption to give back favors in
the future, the taboo of stooling, the lack of financial resources
for residents to move out of town to escape this state of affairs, is
The stakes are high, in such a small town, to the point that the
mobster enrolls several colleagues in the organization to perjure
themselves in confirming a made up version of the facts, coupled with
the ease inhiring the best attorney money can buy, which the poor
More could have been done in the humor department, although seeing
Ornella milking a goat was unexpected.
Overall, this is a captivating work, with a young Ornella Muti
filmed at 15 years old, yet as mature and charismatic as we've seen
her in other films."