“We’re here only for this treacherous gold; no one dreams of anything else.”
In 18th century colonized Peru, an Italian actress (Anna Magnani) travelling through town with her troupe is wooed by a local bullfighter (Riccardo Rioli), the Viceroy (Duncan Lamont), and her own boyfriend (Paul Campbell), who has run off to join the army.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Actors and Actresses
- Cross-Class Romance
- Historical Drama
- Jean Renoir Films
- Love Triangle
- Royalty and Nobility
The first of Jean Renoir’s so-called “trilogy of spectacle” was this colorful comedic fable described by Jonathan Rosenbaum as “a film in English set in a Spanish colony of Peru … inspired by Antonio Vivaldi’s music and shot in an Italian studio by a French director.” It’s primarily a star vehicle for Magnani, whose presence adds spark and interest to each scene she’s in:
However, it’s also an opportunity for Renoir to once again skewer the aristocracy:
… while having fun with color, set pieces, life-versus-art, and romantic entanglements; as noted by Andrew Sarris in his essay for Criterion, it “can best be appreciated as an illustrious filmmaker’s elegant tribute to the theater.” It’s not must-see for all film fanatics, though Renoir or Magnani fans will certainly want to check it out.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Anna Magnani as Camilla
- Colorful cinematography, costumes, and sets
- A fine Vivaldi-filled score
No, though it’s worth a one-time look.
(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)