In its distinctive tongue-in-cheek way, film suggests a solution to unhappy couples unable to divorce under Catholic Italian law: kill your spouse - but make sure that your deed is recognizably in defense of your and your family's honor. In which case, under article 587 of Italian law, the murderer is penalized only 3 to 7 years in jail; no more, sometimes less.

In its distinctive tongue-in-cheek way, film suggests a solution to unhappy couples unable to divorce under Catholic Italian law: kill your spouse – but make sure that your deed is recognizably in defense of your and your family’s honor. In which case, under article 587 of Italian law, the murderer is penalized only 3 to 7 years in jail; no more, sometimes less.

Plot deals with a fed-up husband (Marcello Mastroianni) who plans several ways to get rid of his nagging wife (Daniela Rocca), finally decides to find a lover for her, spring on the couple and shoot her dead. After several clever plot twists, he does, going on to marry the girl next door while his entire village cheers him as it would a hero.

Skillfully written, with a penetrating, almost brutal glimpse of Sicily and its antiquated way of life, it has been directed by Pietro Germi with lagless pace and consistent incisiveness, evoking constant chuckles rather than isolated guffaws.

Mastroianni gives an imaginative performance, Rocca is excellent as his wife, Stefania Sandrelli at times unsure but well cast as his ideal girl, Leopoldo Trieste good as the wife’s onetime suitor. A major plus factor is Leonida Barboni’s oft-breathtaking camerawork, all on Sicilian locations.

Divorzio All'Italiana

Italy

Production

Lux/Vides/Galatea. Director Pietro Germi; Producer Franco Cristaldi; Screenplay Pietro Germi, Ennio De Concini, Alfredo Giannetti; Camera Leonida Barboni; Editor Roberto Cinquini; Music Carlo Rustichelli; Art Director Carlo Egidi

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1961. Running time: 108 MIN.

With

Marcello Mastroianni Daniela Rocca Stefania Sandrelli Leopoldo Trieste Margherita Girelli Angela Cardile
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