Classic rom com featuring three of the greats of golden age Italian cinema. The arm-waving and other histrionics can’t hide a flatness behind some of the proceedings, but the battle of the sexes really revs up a gear in the last hour.
Suave businessman Domenico (Mastroianni) meets a very young waif, Filumena (Loren) hiding in the cupboard in a Neapolitan brothel during a wartime bombardment. Thus begins an epic battle of the sexes covering 20 years of postwar Italian history.
Domenico is an old-fashioned chauvinist, although there are mitigating cultural circumstances including the profligacy with which Filumena apparently lavishes her charms. His narcissistic macho Domenico is a character straight out of farce, but Loren’s Filumena is much more nuanced – her pivotal angry outburst is a joy to behold.
The flashback structure works well in presenting these nuances: Filumena’s story and motivation is revealed this way and it adds a heartwarming element to all the jolly, shouty japes.
There’s a flatness here too though, as Domenico’s tiresome ways are reflected in a certain boorishness that characterises the film as a whole and is very ‘of its time’.
Marriage Italian Style is out now on DVD and Blu-ray.