Sunday, January 09, 2011

fun-sounding Jules Dassin's The Law on TCM tonight...

Set in a sunbaked Catfish Row, The Law is a movie of cartoon-like
mass formations, singing urchins, and operatic outbursts—it opens with
the town's midday torpor broken by top-billed Gina Lollobrigida's siren song as she lovingly polishes a pair of boots belonging to her master, the crusty local padrone (Pierre Brasseur).
Snugly corseted and highly Coppertoned, Lollobrigida plays a
flirtatious virgin half her age. (Dassin's notion of the role seems
modeled after the manic gamine in
Modern Times.) Everyone is transfixed by her cleavage, but La Lollo has eyes only for Marcello Mastroianni,
the progressive young agronomist arrived from the north to drain the
swamp—they have the best looks and the least chemistry of any couple
I've seen onscreen this year. A sleazily mustached Yves Montand plays the town gangster, with Dassin's wife, Melina Mercouri, unhappily married to the local judge, reading
Anna Karenina and making (very scary) eyes at Montand's college-age son...