Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


WILD IS THE WIND (1957). Director: George Cukor.

Widower Gino (Anthony Quinn) decides to marry his sister-in-law Gioia (Anna Magnani, pictured) and flies to Italy to bring her home to his family in America. The movie spends the first hour doing its best to inject drama into the situation -- Gino keeps comparing Gioia to her dead sister; the two argue over killing wild horses -- but the movie doesn't really live up to its "wild" title until Gioia begins an affair with Gino's handsome young ward, Bene (Tony Franciosa). The script by Arnold Schulman may never really rise above a soap opera level, but somehow it doesn't matter much because the direction, cinematography (Charles Lang), and acting are of such a high order that they smooth over all the imperfections of the story. Magnani is as wonderful as ever, but Cukor wrests fine performances from Quinn (one of his best ever), Franciosa, and the entire supporting cast as well. Joseph Calleia and Lila Valenty score as Quinn's brother and sister-in-law, and Delores Hart is lovely in the small role of Quinn's daughter. Once it gets going this is quite absorbing and has a very nice ending.

Verdict: Definitely worth a look. ***1/2.

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