Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

"Made in Italy" Belongs to the World

Cleveland Press August 4, 1967

"Made in Italy" is a five part movie consisting of more than two dozen segments that vary from several seconds to several minutes. They satirize the frailties and foibles not only of Italians but of people everywhere.

Approaching an intersection is a Fiat whose driver is signaling for a right turn. Without stopping she makes a left turn across the intersection. The mini-vignette is the opener for a segment entitled "Women."

Others are "Habits and Customs," "Work," "Citizens -- the State -- and Church," and "The Family."

Some are humorous, others sardonic, a few quite poignant. All strive -- sometimes a little too hard -- for an O. Henry. ending.

FUNNIEST is one near the end in which Anna Magnani, very much the matriarch, leads her shuffling husband, their children and her mother across a terrifying, traffic filled street in Rome.

Less happy but bitterly revealing is one in which a school teacher begins to tell his students of all their blessings, then stops abruptly and self-consciously as his eyes fasten on the rag-clad feet of a boy sitting in the front row.

In another, slum dwellers haltingly read a poster asking for aid for the starving of India.

In between the cleverly humorous and darkly dramatic are episodes more predictable, generally running to the farcical. There is one in which Alberto Sordi is caught by his wife in an extremely delicate situation with another woman, assumes an air of injured innocence and reviles his spouse for her distrust.

COMING closest to a complete story is a vignette in which Catharine Spaak poses as a socialite, drops names and places in her conversation with her young man, is dropped off in front of a swanky apartment. Later she carries on an airy phone conversation with him, laughing through her tears as her janitor father repeatedly slaps her.

"Made in Italy" was directed by Nanni Loy, who keeps a firm hand on the proceedings. The result is light and entertaining fare for adults.