(director/writer: Mario Camerini; screenwriters: Franco Brusati/Paolo Levi/ from the play “L’Ora della Fantasia” by Anna Bonacci; cinematographer: Aldo Giordani; editor: Adriana Novelli; music: Alessandro Cicognini; cast: Gino Cervi (Count D’Origo), Gina Lollobrigida (Ottavia), Nadia Gray (Geraldine), Armando Francioli (Enrico Belli), Paolo Stoppa (Agusto), Galeazzo Benti (Maurizio), Paolo Panelli (Gualteri), Eugenia Tavani (Grand Duchess), Nietta Zocchi (Yvonne), Marisa Pintus (Bettaldi), Silvio Bagolini (Silvio); Runtime: 84; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Angelo Rizzoli; Ivy Video; 1952-Italy-in Italian with English subtitles)

“Upbeat lightweight comedy of errors period film.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

This upbeat lightweight comedy of errors period film never did anything for me, except it was good seeing Gina Lollobrigida in an early role before she gained international fame. It was remade in a darker light by Billy Wilder as “Kiss Me Stupid” (1964). Italian film directorMario Camerini (“Ulysses“/”The Captain’s Daughter”/”Run With The Devil”) has some fun playing around with the film’s emotional themes of love, jealousy and adultery. It’s based on the play “L’Ora della Fantasia” by Anna Bonacci and is written by Franco Brusati and Paolo Levi.

In the 18th century, in the country outside Parma, the married lecherous Count D’Origo (Gino Cervi) while traveling by carriage, over a country road, on official government business, falls for the evasive sexy courtesan Geraldine (Nadia Gray), but doesn’t realize that she’s the famous courtesan Geraldine. She uses her guile to run away from him in her carriage. When the horny Count D’Origo, free for the next three days from his ugly wife the Grand Duchess (Eugenia Tavani), turns up in the house of cunning village mayor, Agusto (Paolo Stoppa), asking only to find the hottie he met on the road, the mayor decides to take advantage of the situation in order to help his idealistic nephew, Enrico (Armando Francioli), a struggling composer of operas. Agusto convinces Enrico to enact a charade that could lead to the Count’s patronage. The ruse has the willing Geraldine playing the part of Enrico’s wife Ottavia (Gina Lollobrigida) for one night, and she will use her tricks of the trade to seduce the Count and get him to sponsor Enrico’s opera. But the plan backfires when Enrico falls for the courtesan and in a jealous snit kicks the Count out when he makes sexual advances. Meanwhile the dowdy virtuous housewife Ottavia is staying at loose-living Geraldine’s house and is given a makeover by Geraldine’s wardrobe mistress (Nietta Zocchi), and now looks foxy. But when the horny Count suddenly shows up, Ottavia has to contend with him courting her seriously when he mistakes her for the worldly Geraldine

The farce asks if wifey will remain faithful to her disappointing hubby or will she advance hubby’s musical career by using her newly acquired feminine charms to fool the sex-starved count. Since this is a harmless film with no bite, the predictable outcome is a safe one that leaves everyone but the beleaguered Count getting what they want.

Wife for a Night Poster