Il bell’Antonio (Handsome Antonio). 1960. Italy. Directed by Mauro Bolognini. Screenplay by Vitaliano Brancati, Pier Paolo Pasolini. With Claudia Cardinale, Marcello Mastroianni. Restored by Cinecittà in collaboration with Compass Film, Societé Cinémathographique Lyre, and the Centre National du Cinema et de l'Image animée. In Italian; English subtitles. 4K digital restoration from Luce Cinecittà and the Cineteca di Bologna; courtesy of Compass Film and RCTV International. 105 min.
With a screenplay cowritten by his friend Pier Paolo Pasolini, Handsome Antonio is arguably the greatest film in the early career of Mauro Bolognini, becoming a succès de scandale in conservative Catholic Italy thanks to its unabashed portrayal of the jaded sex lives of the haute bourgeoisie. Marcello Mastroianni is the aristocratic Sicilian who easily “gets it up” with prostitutes but not with his own wife (Claudia Cardinale). Describing her performance, David Melville writes, “Cardinale’s progress from blushing bride to avenging angel is a sight to chill the blood,” while Peter Bondanella further observes that “Vitaliano Brancati’s novel linked gallismo, or the Don Giovanni complex characteristic of Southern Italian males, to a Fascist mentality, and Bolognini is faithful to the spirit of his source.”