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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Stazione Termini (1953)

An American woman (Jennifer Jones) on vacation in Italy begins an affair with an Italian teacher (Montgomery Clift). But she can't bring herself to leave her husband and child and decides to return home. Directed by Vittorio De Sica, the film had a troubled history. The producer of the film, David O. Selznick (Jones's husband at the time), saw a more traditional romance but De Sica saw a more complex end of the affair. Selznick edited De Sica's version and cut almost 24 minutes out of the film and retitled it INDISCRETION OF AN AMERICAN WIFE. The version I watched was De Sica's original 90 minute cut. Films about American women traveling to Europe and having brief encounters with foreign men have been done several times for the screen. Perhaps the most notable is David Lean's SUMMERTIME but there's also Douglas Sirk's INTERLUDE. De Sica sets his film in what feels like real time and the entire film plays out at a train station. Unlike the romanticized Technicolor SUMMERTIME, De Sica's film is a bleak B&W look at at a romance falling apart. Clift brings a great empathy to his Italian (he's no gigolo) while Jones uses her talent for suppressed neuroticism to great advantage. If you're looking for a glossy movie romance, this isn't it but it's still an involving film. With Richard Beymer (WEST SIDE STORY).

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