In the late 1940s and early 1950s, film critics, international festivalgoers, and other studious viewers were swept up by the tide of Italian neorealism. Meanwhile, mainstream Italian audiences were indulging in a different kind of cinema experience: the sensational, extravagant melodramas of director Raffaello Matarazzo. Though turning to neorealism for character types and settings, these haywire hits about splintered love affairs and broken homes, all starring mustachioed matinee idol Amedeo Nazzari and icon of feminine purity Yvonne Sanson, luxuriate in delirious plot twists and overheated religious symbolism. Four of them are collected here, chronicles of men and women on long and serpentine roads to redemption, each less restrained and more wildly fun than the last.
COLLECTOR’S SET INCLUDES
Raffaello Matarazzo 1949
After years of making mostly comedies and literary adaptations, Raffaello Matarazzo turned to melodrama with this intense tale of a tight-knit working-class family shattered by temptation.
Raffaello Matarazzo 1950
Anna flees her home, where she has been victimized for years by her spineless father’s mean-spirited second wife, to be with her lover, an honest businessman yet to make his fortune. When he is accused of a murder he didn’t commit, the couple’s domestic tranquillity is upended.
Raffaello Matarazzo 1952
Nobody’s Children is the first half of an overflowing diptych of melodramas chronicling the labyrinthine misfortunes of a couple torn cruelly apart by fate (and meddling villains).
THE WHITE ANGEL
Raffaello Matarazzo 1955
In The White Angel, Raffaello Matarazzo’s sequel to his blockbuster Nobody’s Children, the perpetually put-upon Guido and Luisa (Amedeo Nazzari and Yvonne Sanson) return for a new round of trials and tribulations.