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STUDIO: Koch Lorber Films
RUNNING TIME: 112 min
Italian man screws around, gets upset when his wife screws around too.
Giancarlo Giannini, Laura Antonelli and Jennifer O’Neill
Luchino Visconti’s final film is a tale about infidelity. Forgoing the neo-realism of his early works, Visconti slides comfortably into a scathing indictment of the upper class. Sure, it’s melodramatic as fuck, but there’s plenty to enjoy here. Especially watching B-movie queen Jennifer O’Neill getting to flex her acting muscles. But, this is Giannini and Antonelli’s show.
This face belonged in more films like this.
Tullio loves to screw around. His wife Giuliana hates that she has to walk around seeing her husband’s whore Teresa everywhere. Giuliana is so frustrated about the public knowledge of her husband’s misdeeds, that she decides to take advantage of her aristocratic status. Giuliana eventually gets knocked up by another man and Tullio has to face what his actions caused. Nine months later and his friends will know that he’s the proud owner of a bastard.
L’Innocente is nowhere near Visconti’s best films. Fuck, it feels like the Italian auteur is doing his damn best to make a 19th century soap opera. Tullio is an atheist who worships his own debauchery. His wife is told to take care of him like an ill man. But, Tullio doesn’t give a shit about her until he’s stuck looking after her bastard.
The film brings together the best and worst about Italian cinema in the 1970s. You get this empty-handed indictments of class and status through a filter into the past. Then, there’s the forced attempts to make the audience come to terms with Giannini’s Tullio. Tullio is pranced around like some pretty-boy Franco Nero wannabe until you’re left just wanting to see him fall off the face of the Earth. So much of this film is based on setup, posing, setup, posing and never a lick of resolution.
Then, there’s Tullio’s chance to get even with his wife’s lover. The possible father of his bastard child gets into a swordfight with Tullio, but nothing happens. We just get Tullio staring down the man in the shower. A man staring at another man’s buttocks while thinking about the terrible shit he did to his wife. If this scene were played slightly more homoerotic, the film would’ve magically became A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge.
L’Innocente comes to DVD
with a rather average offering. The A/V Quality is rather impressive for a foreign film from the 1970s. What it lacks is a substantial audio track to carry the dialogue. Everything is forward thrusted into the front channel and it becomes rather mushy when several people are speaking at once. It’s not Altman in his prime bad, but it works for what it is.
Beware the Tosca.
Suso Cecchi d’Amico talks about her work with Visconti. There are stories shared about prior experiences and some interesting tidbits about working on The Leopard. Outside of that, it’s very stale.
5.0 out of 10