The Secret of Santa Vittoria Film Details
Overview: During WWII in Italy, a wine producing village hide a million bottles from the Germans
Tagline: In the beginning there was Bombolini the fool, Bombolini the drunk, Bombolini the joke. In the end there was Bombolini the mayor, Bombolini the hero, Bombolini the beautiful. In between is the secret of Santa Vittoria.
Review: Recently, I have had a chance to see Stanley Kramer’s film on the big screen as a part of movie theater shows commemorating Anthony Quinn’s 100 birth anniversary. The versatile and extremely talented actor as he was leads the expectation to keep at the very high level. And hardly ever are you, as a viewer, disappointed with the poignant portrayal of the leading character. However, THE SECRET OF SANTA VITTORIA clearly appears to be not merely an Anthony Quinn movie. As a matter of fact, the storyline itself does not raise much enthusiasm and does not offer so much as to make for a film that can really stand a test of time. Although it is set in the idyllic little town somewhere in the middle of the Italian peninsula and filmed primarily in such renowned surroundings as Viterbo or Tivoli, that is not where its power lies. Thoough the views are terrific. Nor does it in the direction by a renowned (at the time) but also controversial director Stanely Kramer. The movie’s major strength lies in its ‘characters’ no matter if they are portrayed by greatest stars of the time (indeed, it is not short of them) or simple extras, the innumerable citizens of the town of Santa Vittoria, Bosley Crowther, the New York Times reviewer called a “picturesque familiar lot.” The center of their town is a square (naturally) and a fountain with no saint but…a cute turtle, a silent observer of making history. In the character of the protagonist, Vittorio Bombolini, played magnificently by ANTHONY QUINN, you can easily recognize a variety of features that make him, on the one hand, one of the most ‘ridiculous’ mayors of a town like this and, on the other hand, one of the most appealing and likable fellows, one from his community, who ‘smells his people.’ He beautifully combines humor, parody even, responsibility, sentiment, compassion. After the propaganda of “Mussolini is always right” the new times for Santa Vittoria come…”Bombolini is always right.” Corso Mussolini turns into Corso Bombolini and his people, except for his closest family (above all his wife Rosa) seem to like him. He forms a government of a very unique quality, something to laugh at…perhaps, but something to take for granted. They are all far from being sort of ‘bookworms’ or very learned in the statutes and law. However, his diplomatic mission will face a very hard dilemma of saving their greatest treasure, the local wine from the German occupying force. Anthony Quinn’s moments prove sheer brilliance of performance and are all high worth seeing. ANNA MAGNANI as his wife Rosa delivers a tremendously emotional performance as a wife, as a mother, hardly a ‘public persona.’ The great amount of humanity that she puts to the role results in pure enjoyment of seeing her on the screen. Sometimes too brutal to her husband, sometimes furious, sometimes shedding a tear of two, she is never pale, a very vivid character that has not lost any of her power after the years. Quite a contrast to her ‘neurotic’ character appears to be La Contessa, Caterina played by an underrated Italian actress VIRNA LISI. She is a classical woman of inner struggle tormented by the choice of love. Is there any choice when she goes with the German (Hardy Krueger)? Clearly in love with Tufa (Sergio Franchi) whom she first nurses with the wounds of the war, she represents the positive aspect of aristocracy. Particularly appealing when working with the people when one passes to another…bottles of wine. A very interesting couple and a backdrop love story are Angela (Patrizia Valturri) and Fabio (Giancarlo Giannini). Two young people quite underrated in the town (consider Fabio bringing news to the town and the ignorance he meets). Their love affair is both serious and hilarious, something of a classical drama. Shocked parents end up taking part in the wedding of their ‘beloved child’ they have always aimed at protecting… SOME MOMENTS OF EXCEPTIONAL NOTE: The scene of passing the wine is, perhaps, too long but as it constitutes the crucial aspect of the plot, it remains most memorable. The almost ‘acrophobic’ moment of erasing the slogan “Mussolini is always right” highlights the irony of historic changes. The finale, being simultaneously dramatic, comedic and uplifting still makes viewers absorbed in every little move and helps leave the cinema with a smile and satisfaction of having seen something valuable. It occurs, with the passing of years, that THE SECRET OF SANTA VITTORIA is a movie like no other movie. Yes, like Cinzano wine, a wine like no other wine! This movie-wine relation is inseparable: the older, the better!
Language: English, Italian, German
Duration: 139 min
Genre: Comedy, Drama, War
Also known as: Das Geheimnis von Santa Vittoria,Le secret de Santa Vittoria,To mystiko tis Santa Vittoria,El secreto de Santa Vittoria,Santa Vittoria titka,Тайна Санта-Виттории,The Secret of Santa Vittoria,Secretul din Santa Vittoria,Santa Vittorias hemmelighet,El secreto de Santa Victoria,Il segreto di Santa Vittoria,O Segredo de Santa Vitória,サンタ・ビットリアの秘密,Santa Vittorian salaisuus,Таємниця Санта Вітторії,Kasabanın sırrı,Santa Vittorias hemlighet,Tajemnica Santa Vittoria,Santa Bittoria no himitsu,Santa Vittorias hemmelighed