Sophia Loren: Award Collection [4 Discs] [DVD]

This box set offers three award-winning features that star Sophia Loren, and that pair her up with co-star Marcello Mastroianni and celebrated director Vittorio De Sica. First on the list is 1963's comedy Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow - winner of the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar at the 1964 Academy Awards, with Loren and Mastroianni in a trilogy of stories set in Naples, Milan, and Rome. Next up is 1964's Marriage Italian Style, a nominee for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Actress for Loren at the 1965 Academy Awards; Mastroianni plays a philandering businessman who takes Loren's prostitute as a confidant and lover, but enrages her when he accepts another woman's hand in marriage. Finally, 1970's drama Sunflower (an Oscar nominee for Best Score) casts Loren as Giovanna, a woman who undertakes a desperate quest to find her husband, after he vanishes on the Russian battlefields during World War II.
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Overview

Special Features

  • Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
  • Trailers
  • Stills Gallery
  • Marriage Italian Style
  • Theatrical Promo
  • Sunflower
  • Special Bonus Disc! Vittorio D., A Documentary on the life and legacy of the great Director (and frequent Loren collaborator) that offers fascinating interviews with Woody Allen, Clint Eastwood, Mike Leigh

Synopsis

Vittorio D.
Vittorio De Sica (1902-1974) had one of the most remarkable careers in the history of Italian cinema. De Sica began acting in films during the silent era, after establishing himself as a star on the legitimate stage, and was a leading man in bubbly comedies until the outbreak of World War II. In the early 1940s, De Sica began directing films, and he made his mark on the international market after the war, when his powerful neo-realist drama Shoeshine (1946), about street children during the post-war occupation, earned acclaim from critics and audiences around the world. De Sica received even great accolades for 1948's Bicycle Thieves, which earned two Academy Awards and is still considered a landmark achievement in European cinema. De Sica continued to act and direct films with distinction until the last year of his life. Filmmaker Mario Canale presents an affectionate look at Vittorio De Sica and his work in the documentary Vittorio D., which includes interviews with De Sica's close friends and family, colleagues who worked with him, and admirers from the creative community, as well as archival interviews the man himself. Interview subjects include Sophia Loren, Clint Eastwood, Dario Fo, Woody Allen, Ken Loach, Giuseppe Rotunno, Dino De Laurentiis, Shirley MacLaine and many more. Vittorio D. received its world premiere as part of the "Venice Days" program at the 2009 Venice International Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Each of the episodes in the three-part Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (Ieri, Oggi E Domani) stars Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni. In "Adelina-Naples," Loren and Mastroianni are married, and Loren is in trouble with the law. Each time the authorities close in, Loren eludes capture by revealing a swollen belly; back in 1964, Italian law forbade the arrest of a pregnant woman until six months after the child's birth. In "Anna," Loren is married to a wealthy industrialist and has an affair with Mastroianni. So obsessed is she with material possessions that she's willing to walk out on Mastroianni when he smashes her sports car. And in "Mara," high-priced prostitute Loren attracts the attention of a young seminary student, but refuses to seduce him -- then takes a vow of chastity, aggravating her regular customer (Mastroianni). While the first episode is the funniest, it was the last episode which received the most press-coverage, thanks to Loren's "striptease" scene, revealing La Loren in skimpy bra and panties (a bit parodied by the stars in Robert Altman's otherwise-dreadful Prêt-à-Porter). Though the title Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow has absolutely no relation to the film at hand, it is a far more appealing cognomen than the film's British release title, She Got What She Asked For. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

I Girasoli
The first Italian feature film shot in Moscow was directed by the renowned Vittorio De Sica and produced by Carlo Ponti. Sophia Loren stars as Giovanna, an Italian woman who marries Antonio (Marcello Mastroianni) 12 days before the outbreak of WWII. Antonio has no desire to fight in the conflict, and he fakes insanity to try to avoid the draft, but officials see through the charade. Antonio is sent to the Russian front, where the soldiers are plagued by freezing temperatures and short supplies of rations. He is found half-dead in the cold by a Russian peasant girl, Mascia (Lyudmila Savelyeva). She takes him in, and eventually, they marry. Giovanna waits in vain for word on the fate of her husband, who is officially declared missing in action. She goes to Russia to try to find him, searching records and cemeteries. Finally, she discovers first his new wife, then him, and reluctantly decides not to fight the situation. Returning home to Italy, she marries an older factory worker, Ettore (Germano Longo), and they have a son (who is played by the real-life son of Ponti and Loren). But Antonio still longs for Giovanna, and he returns to Italy to discuss a reconciliation with her. ~ Michael Betzold, Rovi

Marriage Italian Style
In flashback, Domenico (Marcello Mastroianni) recalls his wartime romance with Filumena (Sophia Loren). He is so enamored with her that he finances her escape from the bordello where she lives and sets her up with a good job in the restaurant that he owns, and later finds a place for her on his mother's domestic staff. He is not, however, enamored enough to make their union legal, and expects Filumena to behave like a servant by day and his mistress by night. Years later, Filumena lies on her deathbed. The contrite Domenico finally consents to marry her. Not only does she make a full recovery, but she brings her three grown sons to live with the nonplused Domenico after the wedding. He tries to weasel out of the arrangement, but is mollified by Filumena's insistence that all three boys are his sons. Thus, after nearly twenty years' servitude, Filumena is at last in a position to call the shots. Sold to American distributors on the basis of Sophia Loren's revealing costumes (some of these absolutely defy the laws of gravity), Marriage Italian Style remains a warm and spicy concoction today, even after years of less expert imitations. The film was based on Filumena Marturano by Eduardo de Filipo. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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