(Review originally written at 8 March 2010)

Oh, those sneaky Italians. It's not the first time they based a movie on source material without the permission or knowledge of the, in this case, author of the novel. Of course this is not something that is typically Italian but got done quite a lot in the early days of cinema, mostly because they often thought they would be able to get away with it. James M. Cain's publishers managed to keep this movie off American screens until 1976 but nevertheless the movie itself has grown a bit into a well known classic.

The movie is not as great to watch as the 1946 American version but it's a great movie nevertheless. This of course not in the least is due to the movie it's great strong story, that is an intriguing one and provides the movie with some great characters and realism. It follows the novel quite closely and is therefore mostly the same as other movie versions of its story, with of course as a difference that it got set in an Italian environment.

Leave it up to the Italians to make a movie about life and the real people in it. These early drama's always have a very realistic feeling over it and are therefore also quite involving to watch. Unfortunately the movie lost some of its power toward the end, when the movie started to feel a bit overlong and dragging in parts. The movie could had easily ended 15 minutes earlier.

Nevertheless, I don't really have much else negative to say about this movie. It's simply a greatly made one, based on some equally great and strong source material. Quite an impressive directorial debut for Luchino Visconti, who continued to direct some many more great and memorable Italian dramatic movies.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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