Starring: Anna Magnani, Burt Lancaster, Marisa Pavan, Ben Cooper
Director: Daniel Mann (No relation to Delbert Mann)
Summary: A woman goes into a long period of mourning after the death of her husband, who she didn’t realize was cheating on her.
Other Nominations: Actress (Magnani)*, Supporting Actress (Pavan), Dramatic/Comedy Score, B&W Art Direction*, B&W Cinematography*, Film Editing
-Magnani pretty much is the reason to watch this movie, and she gives a great performance. She’s incredibly expressive at all times, but somehow never overacts which is a remarkable feat. She pulls off a wide range emotions, being both lively and deeply depressing, sometimes changing at the drop of a hat.
-Pavan put in a very solid performance as Magnani’s daughter
-The cinematography was good (even if I’m surprised it won the Oscar)
-This is a very strange movie with lots of different elements, a few of them working extremely well and many others feeling totally off. Lancaster’s performance and character were just…odd. I’m not completely sure what was going on with him, other than he was a weird and smiley man with an occasional Italian accent who’s supposed to be our love interest? It’s also a slow movie, playing out as a handful of really long scenes with 2-3 characters; heck, Lancaster doesn’t even show up until the midway point of the movie. Finally, the movie doesn’t open up that much from its play routes, with almost everything taking place inside Magnani’s house; why it won for Art Direction, I don’t know, because none of the sets or costumes, or the style in general were at all distinctive.
I can understand why Magnani won an Oscar (especially against what looks like a weak field), but I don’t know why it was nominated for Best Picture considering most of the other elements of the movie besides her don’t work all that well.