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Gina Lollobrigida




Titanus, 1954.  Directed by Luigi Comencini.  Camera:  Carlo Montuori.  With Vittorio De Sica, Gina Lollobrigida, Marisa Merlini, Roberto Risso, Maria-Pia Casilio, Virgilio Riento, Saro Urzi, Tina Pica.

Bread, Love and Jealousy or "Frisky" as the American distributor re-titled it upon its initial American release, is a sequel to the tremendously successful Bread, Love and Dreams made in 1953.  They were the first two of a series of earthy comedies which Gina Lollobrigida got tired of making.  She was replaced in Pane Amore E... (Scandal in Sorrento) by Sophia Loren.   At the time of their release, these amusing country comedies were seen by critics as a frivolous departure from the more serious neo-realist films of the period, but audiences loved them precisely because of their light charm and their escapist qualities.  Most film historians say that Bread, Love and Jealousy isn't quite up to the quality of its predecessor, but the fact is that they are cut from the same cloth and seem like two parts of the same film, as pleasing and delightful today as when they came out, even better, given the sweet spice of nostalgia.

Borrowing elements of Shakespearean comedy, this film is about the parallel amorous fortunes of two couples, one young, one middle-age.  We encountered them both in the first film.  "Maresciallo" Antonio Carotenuto (Vittorio De Sica) must resign his position in the village in order to marry the town midwife, an unwed mother.  Pietro, the young policeman who is to marry "Bersagliera" or "Frisky" (Lollobrigida) is transferred to another town.  Frisky is assigned to the maresciallo who takes her into his house as a servant.  Gossip about the two grows.  The fiancée returns and breaks off the engagement.  The father of the midwife's child appears, proposes marriage, and the parish priest induces the woman to accept.  The wrongly maligned Frisky makes peace with her fiancée.  Another midwife arrives in town.  The maresciallo can lust hopefully once more.

The movie could be called "All's Well that Ends Well, Italian Style."  There isn't much one can say about a movie as simple and unassuming as this, except that the performers bring it off admirably and command our attention for an hour and a half.  No social moral, no essay into the alienation of modern man, no peeks at the filmmaker's navel exist here...only the ingratiating talents of Gina Lollobrigida and Vittorio De Sica under the humane direction of Luigi Comencini.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Internet Movie Database