Simultaneously a grim expose of post-WWII black-marketeering in Italy and a wolf-whistling celebration of the pneumatic splendor of Gina Lollobrigida, Giorgio Pastina's drama takes place in a shattered society where situational morality is the order of the day. Giovanni (Amedeo Nazzari) and his partner, Lucien (Juan de Landa), disagree about how to run their gambling casino. Although Giovanni has no qualms about sleeping with Lucien’s wife, Marie
(Doris Dowling), he draws the line at cheating customers. Because the House keeps losing, Lucien branches out into tobacco smuggling. Led by the conniving Marco (Otello Toso), starving peasants risk arrest as they transport Lucien’s goods through the mountain passes. Desperate times push Marco to give Alina (Lollobrigida) a stint as a mule, even though his cronies aren’t thrilled about working with a woman. Probably needless to say, Marco has an ulterior motive: When he isn’t chiseling his partners, he’s dreaming up ways to get the luscious Alina alone in a haystack. To that end, he cagily befriends her sickly husband, Paulo (Lauro Gazzolo). Then Giovanni begins to show an interest in Alina, leading to a fatal confrontation between Marco and Paolo: A fire breaks out while they're arguing, Paulo has a heart attack and Giovanni doesn't rescue him. Alina's beauty, meanwhile, makes her an outcast among the less-attractive women in her village. With her husband gone, Alina's choices become inscreasingly circumscribed, but is life so hopeless that she might end up with the low-life Marco? Though much more glamorous than earlier postwar neo-realist movies, this noirish drama is a scathing indictment of wartime profiteers, sexual bullies and small-minded village bigots.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: Simultaneously a grim expose of post-WWII black-marketeering in Italy and a wolf-whistling celebration of the pneumatic splendor of Gina Lollobrigida, Giorgio Pastina's drama takes place in a shattered society where situational morality is the order of the… (more)