Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.
Thursday, February 9, 2017
Michael Craig and Claudia Cardinale
SANDRA (aka Vaghe stelle dell'Orsa/1965). Director: Luchino Visconti.
"Your book could be a weapon in the hands of our enemies." -- Sandra to Gianni.
Sandra (Claudia Cardinale of The Pink Panther) and her husband, Andrew (Michael Craig of Doctor in Love), travel to her hometown and rundown palatial estate where they encounter her brother, the budding novelist Gianni (Jean Sorel of A View From the Bridge), from whom she has been separated for some years. Their father was a Jew who was executed by the Nazis, and their mother is a now-demented concert pianist who has remarried Mr. Gilardini (Renzo Ricci), who does not get along with his stepchildren. Everything comes to a boil as the day approaches for a ceremony to honor their father, and Gianni reveals the controversial storyline of his novel. He can no longer control his romantic and sexual obsession for his own sister. Obviously, things aren't going to end well. Sandra has all the elements that might add up to a penetrating and outre erotic drama, but somehow it never quite gets off the ground despite the emotionalism of the last ten minutes or so. This is a well-done English-dubbed version (Cardinale did her own dubbing), but the performances, while hard to judge because of the dubbing, seem more than adequate, with Sorel especially passionate if not quite as pitiable as he might have been. The soundtrack is heavy with classical music that only adds to the general lugubriousness, and the occasional pop tune is grating.