The second appointment of this year’s Italian Film Club is coming up with a screening of Alessandro Blasetti’s Peccato che sia una canaglia (1954).
Paolo (Marcello Mastroianni), a serious, willing young man, works for a taxi-driver cooperative, which has assigned him a beautiful new car. One day the car is hired by two young men, who ask to be taken to the beach, along with a lovely friend of theirs, Lina (Sophia Loren). The party goes bathing and Lina persuades Paolo to take a dip as well, but as he is about to go into the water, the anti-theft alarm warns him that his car is in danger. He tries in vain to capture the two thieves, then forces Lina to return to Rome with him, but once there she manages to escape from him. So Paolo has to reimburse the cooperative for the cost of a very long ride. After a few days Paolo meets Lina and the two accomplices: the latter manage to escape from him again, but Paolo stops the young woman. She tells him a bunch of lies to gain his pity, and since she mentions her family, Paolo decides to meet her father, Mr. Stroppiani (Vittorio De Sica). According to Lina, he is the perfect figure of an artist, while in reality he is a thorough swindler who specializes in stealing suitcases…
Based on the short story Il fanatico by Alberto Moravia, Peccato che sia una canaglia marked the first collaboration between Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren, a pairing that gave birth to one of the most-loved couples Italian cinema has ever presented. The Loren-Mastroianni tandem, from then on, will always be popular, especially in Europe. They appeared in 10 films together, plus a cameo appearance by Mastroianni in Questi fantasmi and double billing in Tempi Nostri in which they don’t share any scene.
Directed with a light and amused hand by Alessandro Blasetti and sustained by the lively performances of its leads and secondary characters, Peccato che sia una canaglia is a refreshing and entertaining comedy.
The film will be in Italian with Italian subtitles.