Screening of Dino Risi’s Il Vedovo – Thursday 27 October

Dear All,

The second screening of the Italian Film Club is on its way!

Il Vedovo is a 1959 black comedy film directed by Dino Risi and interpreted by Alberto Sordi and Franca Valeri.

Alberto Sordi stars as Alberto Nardi, a Roman businessman who fancies himself a man of great capabilities even though his lift-producing factory is perennially on the brink of bankruptcy. Alberto is married to a rich and successful businesswoman from Milan, Elvira Almiraghi (Franca Valeri) who has a no-nonsense attitude and barely tolerates the attempts of her husband to keep his factory afloat with her money.

One day, the train on which Elvira is traveling falls off a bridge and into a lake and Alberto believes to be finally free from his wife’s bossiness and heir of her vast fortune. But not everything is as it seems and Alberto will have to face a momentous decision…

The film is a splendid example of the commedia all’italiana and Dino Risi directs it with a marked black overtone. The actors (not only the main ones but all the minor caratteristi) are all in tip-top shape: Sordi depicts his character as outrageously sleazy (he is arrogant to his subjects, megalomaniac, an unrepentant fascist who strives to get recognition from the business milieu that regards him as a ‘lucky idiot’), while Franca Valeri is hilarious in the role of the signorina snob (with a remarkable business intuition) that made her famous on the Italian television. Her clear contempt towards the ineptitude and vanity of her husband is a pleasure to watch.

Il Vedovo  is also interesting as a period piece, showing the contradictions and miseries lying behind Italy’s postwar economic miracle, contradictions that Risi depicted so well also in Il Sorpasso (1962).

Please note that the film will be in Italian with Italian subtitles only.

Il Vedovo

Franca Valeri and Alberto Sordi


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