Italian One-Panel Poster
Adulterio all'italiana, directed by Pasquale Festa Campanile, is an Italian comedy starring Catherine as Marta, a young wife whose husband, Franco (played by Nino Manfredi), cheats with one of her friends. Franco has arrived back in the city early from a business trip without telling Marta, and the film starts with him spending the night with a young woman named Gloria, played by the lovely Maria Grazia Buccella. In fact, we learn that Gloria considers herself to be engaged to Franco (though she knows him under a different name). Apparently, she gets engaged to every man with whom she sleeps, which is not an infrequent occurrence.
The problems (and comedy) begin when Franco leaves Gloria to return home to Marta. Gloria is visiting from out-of-town and comes to visit her friend, Marta, whose husband she has never met. As Franco is about to exit the elevator, he sees Marta and Gloria waiting on him, and obviously they have determined what he's been up to. That scene was so good that it elicited an audible chuckle from me, which doesn't happen often.
Franco begs Marta for forgiveness, but, per the typical double standard, he expects her to argue for a while and then forgive him. The affair was only physical, not emotional. On the other hand, when Marta informs him that she is a modern woman that should be allowed to do anything that he can do (i.e., have an affair of her own in return), then Franco cannot accept that proposition. Ultimately, he agrees to her proposition, however, in order to stop her from returning home to her mother. The remainder of the story revolves around Marta intentionally leaving clues about a fictitious mystery man with whom she is having an affair in order to get back at him. Franco drives himself crazy trying to solve the puzzle of Marta's mysterious lover.
This film gives viewers a healthy dose of what Nino Manfredi and Catherine did best. Manfredi (in addition to rounding out the film in drag) gives us a lot of his deadpan facial expressions in comical situations, and Catherine gives us a lot of smiles and cute looks as she outwits her husband at one turn after another. Catherine looks lovely and wears a lot of stylish, colorful, and trendy outfits. The humor is of the battle-of-the-sexes variety that I think the Italians did so well in the 1960's. In one memorable scene that graces some of the promotional material on this post, a drunk Marta has her 10,000-pearl dress come apart in a lounge, leaving her in her underclothes as Franco tries to cover her up and get her home.
There is really very little to "not like" about this film. The film moves along briskly, clocking in around 90 minutes or so. My only minor complaint is that the color in the film seems odd. I don't really know how to describe it. The colors are vivid, but somehow the sharp, brilliance that you would see in a Technicolor film of that era is missing. I know very little about cinematography, but I presume that it must have something to do with the film stock that was used. The Region 2 DVD release appears to be a good print of the film, so I don't think that the DVD transfer has anything to do with it. Regardless, this is a fun film, with lots of good humor and lots of Catherine, mugging it up with Italian comedy legend Manfredi. Adulteria all'italiana should be on the must-see list of all Catherine fans.
A couple of little side-notes:
- In what seems to be rather routine in Catherine's career, Sante Achilli worked on this film as a cameraman; if they were not still dating at this point, it would be interesting to know how well that worked, with him working on so many of her films.
- The song Bada Caterina, by singer/actress Carmen Villani, plays in various forms throughout much of the soundtrack. The tune is extremely catchy, but almost to the point of being annoying. You'll definitely find yourself singing it in your head after the movie ends. Apparently it was a hit; here is a picture of the record and a youtube clip of Villani performing it on Italian TV soon after the release of the film:
Adulterio all'italiana (with a working title of A Friend for My Wife) was filmed in Rome in the winter of 1966.
- The December 22, 1965 Variety reported: "Sergio Fantoni, who costars with D.D. in 'Do Not Disturb,' next heads to Italy, joins Catherine Spaak in 'Adultery-Italian Style'."
- The January 19, 1966 Variety reported: "Luciano Perugia producing Adultery, Italian Style, now retitled 'A Friend for my Wife' for Fairfilm with Catherine Spaak and Nino Manfredi toplined in pic directed by P. F. Campanile."
- The February 16, 1966 Variety reported: "Maria Grazia Buccella into 'A Friend for My Wife,' previously titled Adultery, Italian Style."
- The February 9, 1966 Variety reported: Cavalieri Hilton again the scene for a pic; "A Friend for My Wife" with Catherine Spaak and Nino Manfredi.
- The May 4, 1966 Variety reported that "P. F. Campanile's Adulterio all'Italiana is another recent Fairfilm hit."
- The September 28, 1966 Variety reported that "Adultery, Italian Style" was one of the "Holdovers from last season still big in subsequents."
- The February 1, 1967 Variety reported from Buenos Aires (dated January 31) that Adultery Italian Style was a recent release that was performing well.
I have seen no indication that the film was ever released in the U.S., but it was released in the U.K. on April 20, 1971 as Adultery - Italian Style.
British lobby cards:
Some German material: a poster, a pressbook, a couple of programs, and lobby cards:
A Turkish poster:
A Mexican lobby card (courtesy of the archives at emovieposter.com):
A Spanish poster and pressbook: