Antonioni's Noirish Narrative Film Debut
Kardius | USA | 05/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Unlike what the other reviewer stated, Michelangelo Antonioni's "The Story of a Love Affair" is not an adaptation of James M. Cain's classic "The Postman Always Rings Twice." That film is 1943's "Ossessione," also starring Massimo Girotti, and which was the first film by another great Italian director, Luchino Visconti. (And which is actually a better film, Girotti is certainly much better in "Ossessione.")
"The Story of a Love Affair" is structured as a noir/thriller. At the beginning, a jealous wealthy businessman in Milan hires a detective to find if his wife (Lucia Bose) is unfaithful and by doing so unwittingly rekindles her love for another man (Massimo Girotti), who may have been complicit with her on the death of her former best friend (who was also his fiancee). As their love affair progresses, the reunited lovers ponder killing the husband.
Although set up as a thriller, Antonioni is less interested in crime than in the psychology of the leading couple: an unhappily married society wife (Bose) and a down-on-his-luck former WWII soldier (Girotti). Lucia Bose, then only 19, is not a very good actress, but she's striking to look at, and Antonioni makes the most of her beautiful face. Girotti is not that great either, but he's also perfectly cast. The merits of this film really have to do with great visuals, not with great acting, so in that respect they're both excellent in their parts.
While not as great as other noirish debuts by great European directors, like Visconti's Ossessione or Malle's Elevator in the Gallows, "The Story of a Love Affair" is definitely worth checking out for fans of film noir or Antonioni.
The film looks pretty good on the DVD, but the extras disc was somewhat disappointing for me, though, especially the cheesily edited and rather cruel (namely the moment when an elderly Lucia Bose hugs a wheelchaired Antonioni) short about the release of the restored film. I would have preferred to see and hear more from Antonioni himself in the extras."
I think they missed something
big nick | Ormond Beach, FL USA | 05/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Amazon editorial review and customer reviews wrongly state that a wealthy buiness man hires a detective because he suspects that his beautiful wife is unfaithful. In fact, he simply found some old photographs of his wife that were taken before they met and that made him think. They had a very brief courtship and married during the war. Now, seven years later, and after finding the photos, he realized that he really did not khow this woman and wanted to learn about her life before they met. Because she is so gorgeous, he probably suspected that she had lovers before him and wanted to know who they were and how serious the relationships were. Ironically, the investigation rekindled her relationship with a former lover resulting in a very interesting turn of events. To me, the fact that he merely wanted to know what kind of life she led before meeting him contributes strongly to the story line. Pay close to the first few minutes of this film and you will find nothing to suggest that her husband suspects her of being unfaithful. Great story, great cinematography, and great directing, all result in a great movie even though the acting was not top notch."