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Divorce: Italian Style

B+

Divorce: Italian Style, this classic tickler, is the driest and blackest of dry, black comedies. Marcello Mastroianni, underacting magnificently, is Fefé, a desperate Sicilian househusband who, lusting after his 16-year-old cousin but forbidden by law to divorce, dreams of rubbing out his harridan wife. It’s textbook antihero comedy: You egg on the bastard Fefé, and bleed for him, too — particularly in the surprise last shot, a twist of the knife that also grazes the funny bone. The EXTRAS are underwhelming by Criterion’s mighty standards, the plum being a booklet of marvelous appreciations (including one by Martin Scorsese). Disc 2 offers screen tests (not of Mastroianni, alas), interviews (ditto), and two docs on director Pietro Germi (double ditto). One of them, 1997’s Man With a Cigar in His Mouth by Italian critic Mario Sesti, is full of dull talking heads and has no movie clips; but we do learn that Billy Wilder called Germi ”the Italian Billy Wilder,” and, judging from the piquant Divorce,rightly so. B+ (though the movie deserves an A)

Divorce: Italian Style
type
  • Movie
genre
mpaa
runtime
  • 105 minutes
director

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