(director: Vittorio De Sica; screenwriters: Alberto Moravia/Cesare Zavattini/Eduardo De Filippo; cinematographer: Giuseppe Rotunno; editor: Adriana Novelli; music: Armando Trovajoli; cast: Sophia Loren (Adelina/Anna/Mara), Marcello Mastroianni (Carmine/Renzo/Augusto Rusconi), Aldo Giuffrè (Pasquale), Agostino Slavietti (Dr. Verace), Lino Mattera (Amedeo); Runtime: 120; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Carlo Ponti; Embassy Pictures; 1963-Italy-in Italian with English subtitles)

“Another over hyped Sophia Loren film that fizzles more than it sizzles.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Another over hyped Sophia Loren film that fizzles more than it sizzles. It was stale but nevertheless managed to win an Oscar in 1965 for Best Foreign film, as the public thought highly of it back then. When viewed today, it looks played out. Vittorio De Sica (“The Bicycle Thief”/”Umberto D”/”Shoeshine”) directs and it’s written by Alberto Moravia, Cesare Zavattini (one of Italy’s great writers) and Eduardo De Filippo.

Each of the three episodes (Adelina of Naples, Anna of Milan and Mara of Rome) stars Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni, but they have different names and are in different situations and in different cities. None of the episodes stands out, except for their banality, crassness, failed comedy efforts and unromantic feelings.

In the first segment, set in Naples, the sex diva’s hometown, Sophia plays Marcello Mastroianni’s wife, who continually gets pregnant to avoid arrest for black-marketeering (an actual legal loophole in Italy). This act stretches out over a seven-year span.

The second segment has Sophia as the classy wife of a prominent Milan industrialist who is having an affair with struggling writer Marcello, and has him drive hubby’s fancy Rolls Royce. When he crashes the car, it leads to their relationship being dissolved.

The final segment is set in Rome and has Sophia as high-class prostitute with a heart of gold, who catches the romantic attention of a seminary student visiting his grandparents next door. When his irate granny protests and the kid threatens to join the Foreign Legion, Sophia, who never let him touch her but does a strip-tease for his benefit– confesses to him what line of work she’s in, gets overwhelmed with piety for a week and gets the confused kid to return to the seminary to be a priest. Marcello is her best customer, who holds his breath waiting for her to be back in business.

It’s breezy, dumb and tedious, but is at least directed with cinematic panache by the talented director.

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow Poster