Saturday, April 5, 2014

Made in Italy (1965)

U.S. One Sheet Poster

Made in Italy, directed and co-written by Nanni Loy, is a slice-of-life-type comedy that gives the viewer a look at Italian life in the mid-1960's.  The film, shot in color, is divided into 5 segments, with various short scenes supporting the general theme of each segment.  Some scenes last only a minute or two, while others last closer to ten minutes.

For me, the best segments were:  (1) A scene where Lando Buzzanca is obsessed with finding out about the background of his girlfriend (played by the lovely Jolanda Modio), and he is more concerned about her prior love life than finding out about any crimes or other bad acts in her past; (2) a scene where Walter Chiari works very hard to convince married Lea Massari to go to bed with him in the three hours that they have available before her husband returns, only to find an excuse to send her home after he has had his pleasure in the first hour of the encounter; (3) a scene where Jean Sorel pursues Sylva Koscina in public and on the highway, until she learns that he is not interested in a date, but instead only has eyes for driving her Jaguar; (4) a scene in which Nino Manfredi is confounded by government bureaucracy as he is sent from office to office and line to line in trying to get a permit/certificate that he needs; and (5) a scene were Alberto Sordi (my favorite Italian actor) plays a man whose wife comes home unexpectedly to find him in bed with a younger woman, and he spins the situation to place the blame on his wife for putting him in that situation. 

While I would not rank it as a great movie, I did enjoy watching this film.  I got the feeling that it touched on many areas of contemporary Italian life at the time, including making some overt jabs at the Catholic Church and the Italian government.  

With that said, Catherine's scene was one of my least favorite.  It is in the segment called "Women" and runs for about seven minutes, starting at around the 45-minute mark.  She plays the role of Carolina, who is at a club dancing with a date.  The young couple is scornful of old people and old-fashioned things, and they leave the club in a fancy convertible.  When her date drops Carolina off at the building in which she lives, we learn that she is pretending to be a wealthy young debutante, even though she really lives in a small basement apartment with her poor family.  Besides the fact that I did not find her scene to have the same charm that I found in many of the film's other scenes, the English dubbing for Catherine was absolutely atrocious.  The voice is irritating, sounds nothing like Catherine's real voice, and can hardly be understood (even with the volume turned up high).  In addition, this is not Catherine's best look, in my opinion.  Her hair is reddish, her face looked unusually thin, and in a long closeup near the end of the scene, her eye shadow is rather garish-looking.  Overall, the film is worth watching for anyone that loves Italian films of the 1960's, but Catherine's part does not rank as one of her better efforts.

Filmed in a number of cities throughout Italy (plus a sequence in Stockholm), Made in Italy was shot in the fall of 1965.  Catherine's dance club scene was filmed at the Piper Club in Rome.  My best guess is that her scenes were shot in October, in between her work on Madamigella di maupin (she returned from shooting in Yugoslavia in late September) and L'armata brancaleone (Gassman was actively filming by late October).
  • The September 8, 1965 Variety reported "Another pic claims precedence in using Rome's fabled Piper Club dancery as location backdrop, Columbia's 'Made in Italy' in a Catherine Spaak episode."
  • The September 22, 1965 Variety reported:  "Alberto Sordi joined cast of Documento episoder, 'Made in Italy,' which already boasts Virna Lisi, Catherine Spaak, Monica Vitti, Anna Magnani, Silvana Mangano."
  • The September 29, 1965 Variety reported "Catherine Spaak back from Yugoslavian locations of 'Mademoiselle de Maupin'."
  • The October 13, 1965 Variety reported "Vittorio Gassman back in Rome from South American stage tour to start 'For Love and Gold.'
  • The October 20, 1965 Variety reported "Vittorio Gassman in Roman countryside for 'Armata Brancaleone' (For Love and Gold)." 
  • The November 10, 1965 Variety reported:  Catherine Spaak starrer "Mademoiselle de Maupin," finished under Mauro Bolognini's direction."  It also reported that Vittorio Gassman was busy with "Armata Brancaleone."
  • The November 23, 1965 Variety reported on Nanni Loy wrapping up filming of "Made in Italy" with shooting in Stockholm.
Apparently, the Piper Club (where Catherine's dance sequence was filmed) was a very popular night club.  I have even seen where bands such as Pink Floyd, The Who, Genesis, and Nirvana played there.  Catherine stated in 1960's interviews that she liked to go out to clubs and dance, and Rex Reed stated in his N.Y. Times profile of Catherine in 1966 that she liked to hang out at the Piper Club.  It opened in February 1965; here are some pictures of the club from 1965:

According to IMDB, Made in Italy was released in Italy on December 22, 1965 and in the U.S. by Columbia Pictures on April 30, 1967 in New York City.  It also received releases in West Germany, France, Finland, Sweden, and Spain in 1967.

The film received generally positive reviews in the U.S.:  
  • Boxoffice (May 15, 1967) gave the film a positive review.     
  • Time, in the May 19, 1967 edition, referred to the film as a "mosaic of ironic episodes that attempts to provide a portrait of modern Italy...some as brief as a minute." It goes on to say that, "[i]n one of the film's most moving incidents, a girl (Catherine Spaak) puts on airs with a boy she has just met, describes Capri as a passe resort, and puts down her wealthy parents as 'bourgeois.'  When he escorts her to her Roman town house, she climbs up the stairs-and then climbs down again as soon as he is gone.  After descending still farther, she goes into the janitor's basement apartment, where her father greets her with a curse and a vicious slap across the face.  When the boy telephones to wish her good night, she masks her sobs as laughter."  
  • The New York Times reviewed the film on May 1, 1967 (as presented at the 34th Street East Theater), calling it a "highly enjoyable, if untouted, Technicolored film package."  It concluded that "Mr. Loy may not have scored every time but [his] large helping of sad truth, beauty, farce and satire does hit a large number of bull's eyes." 
  • Variety reviewed the film in its May 4, 1967 edition (noting a viewing at the 34th Street East Theater in New York and that the film had English subtitles), calling the film "frequently funny." It concluded that "[t]he result is two excellent segments, two or three good ones, with the remainder of the film ranging from unexciting to dull...For a specialized market."  No specific mention was made of Catherine or her segment.  
The film appears to have performed well:
  • The May 10, 1967 Variety noted that Made in Italy had been "fast booked into the 34th Street East and the Little amazing $25,000 on such short notice, helped by generally great notices."
  • An ad in the June 28, 1967 Variety touted the film's success at the box office, listing a take of $117,649 in the first 8 weeks in New York, $41,047 in the first 6 weeks in Boston, and $5,122 in the first week in Pittsburgh.
The 34th Street East Theater in New York City opened in the summer of 1963 and closed in 1997.  It was a single-screen theater; here is a picture of the marquee:

The Little Carnegie Playhouse, at 146 W. 57th Street in Manhattan, was opened in 1928, remodeled in 1952, and closed in 1982.  It was one of the premier art house theaters in Manhattan.  Here's how the inside of the theater looked after the 1952 renovation:

Screen Gems was advertising in Variety in late 1969 and early 1970 in regard to a group of films available for local TV showings, including Made in Italy, so presumably the film was shown on TV in some U.S. markets in the early 1970's.

Made in Italy is available in the United States on burn-to-order DVD as part of the Sony Pictures Choice Collection.  I applaud the company for making films like this available to the public in a very nice print, but the dubbing that was done for this film back at the time of its theatrical release was not good.  At times, it is hard to understand what is being said, and Catherine's character is one of the worst in that regard.  Having enjoyed a number of Alberto Sordi films, it is also odd to watch him with such a mismatched voice in this film.  My enjoyment of the film would have been enhanced by an Italian soundtrack with English subtitles.  It is curious that Variety referred to the film's U.S. premiere as having English subtitles, yet we have an English-dubbed DVD release. 

Now for promotional material.  The U.S. One Sheet poster is shown above.  Here is the U.S. Half Sheet, Insert and Three Sheet posters:

U.S. lobby cards (missing card #7):

Some U.S. stills:

The U.S. pressbook cover (along with the page that devotes a paragraph to Catherine):

An Australian daybill poster:

Italian posters and fotobustas:

Italian stills:

Romanian poster, photo, and postcard:

A Spanish poster:

A Yugoslavian poster:

French poster and lobby cards:

A German lobby card and German program:


  1. The "unknown" poster is from Spain

  2. Thanks rohmerin! I'll update the post to reflect that info.