Raffaello Matarazzo's Runaway Melodramas [Criterion Collection] [4 Discs] [DVD]

This box set - the 27th volume of The Criterion Collection's Eclipse series of rare and unknown films - turns to four baroque, operatic melodramas helmed by the Italian director Raffaello Matarazzo in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The films featured herein borrowed character types and situations from neorealismo but stood at the opposite end of the stylistic spectrum. The collection begins with Chains (1949), about an upstanding Italian housewife whose world is turned upside down by the sudden reappearance of a former lover. Next up is Tormento (1953) about a well-meaning young woman who escapes from the clutches of her nasty stepmother and attempts to begin a new life with her impoverished beau - with disastrous consequences. Nobody's Children (1953) follows the tragic romance of a rich count and a poor village girl. Finally, The White Angel (1955) resumes the story of the Nobody's Children couple, following them on an adventure that includes a prison riot and a boating accident.
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Nobody's Children
Tormento is right. Anna Ferrari (Yvonne Sanson) is thrown out of her home by her nasty stepmother. She moves in with boyfriend Carlo Guarnieri (Amedeo Nazzari), intending to marry him. While awaiting the birth of their child, Carlo is arrested for a crime he didn't commit. A long prison sentence threatens the legitimacy of Anna's child. Will this dilemma be solved in time, or will Anna be forever stigmatized? An expertly assembled "soap opera," Tormento arrived in the U.S. with surprisingly few censorial excisions; the TV prints, however, are considerably shorter than the theatrical version. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

L'Angelo Bianco
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