Saturday, September 22, 2012

Ghosts Italian Style (1969)




For some time now I have been interested in seeing a Sophie Loren movie. I have been curious to see what the big deal is about her since she has been named one of AFI’s top twenty-five greatest actresses of all time. I personally believe Loren and a few other actresses are on the list because they are icons and known for their beauty not so much their acting skills. I will stop there because I have already written my opinion about AFI’s lists of actors and actresses. Anyway… I found Sophie Loren’s movie Ghosts- Italian Style on TCM and I decided to give it a try.
            Maria (Loren) and Pasquale have fallen on hard times. They went through some (unexplained) hard times and are left with barely any money. Pasquale was walking home when he bought a fortune that luck is starring him in the face if he looks. He turns around and finds he is standing in front of an old palace. A man named Raffael tells Pasqual that he can live in the palace and the owner will pay him to live in it and eventually sell it. Raffael also tells him that the ghost of the Duke who built the palace in the seventeenth century is said to haunt it.
            In the meantime Maria goes to an orphanage called Holy Souls in Purgatory looking for the president Alfredo. Maria has been seeing Alfredo because she feels Pasquale neglects her. Alfredo tells her he loves her and wants to take her away.
            Pasquale does not tell Maria that the place is haunted. Raffael tells Pasquale that he had someone dust the palace and ten minutes later is dusty again. He tells Pasquale more things how the ghost does not like to hear anyone complain and most importantly that things disappear and reappear all the time. A large closet comes in. When Pasquale is out of the room Alfredo comes out of the closet telling Maria he loves her and has all the money they could ever need to go away. Pasquale is coming back into the room and Alfredo goes back into the closet. The door slowly opens revealing Alfredo. Pasquale thinks Alfredo is a ghost and asks Maria if she sees anyone but trying to get out of the situation she says no and leaves the room. Alfredo walks out of the closet and his back with the money opens and money falls out. Pasquale sees this as a sign from God and takes the money.
            Pasquale uses the money to transform some their part of the palace into a boarding house. Raffael has rented the room upstairs to Alfredo. Pasquale thinks Alfredo walking around is the ghost. Pasquale thinking Alfredo is the duke goes to have a look around. Alfredo walks through a passage down to Maria. Pasquale writes on the fireplace that if the ghost does not give him a few thousand lire. Maria thinks that Pasquale knows about her and Alfredo and she gets really mad at him.
            Things begin to go a little crazy and I lost interest because it was getting a bit ridiculous. It gets to the point where it looks like Pasquale has killed Maria in a rage of jealousy when he finds out Maria has been cheating on him with Alfred. Seven months later after the trial and some jail time he goes back to palace. Surprisingly if you did not see it coming Maria comes out from the passage. They faked her death for some reason I did not catch. Maria and Pasquale make up very nicely. She tells him she is going to make him breakfast but she has to get some oil. Alfredo has made a shrine to her down in the sewers where her body was apparently dumped and he has an internal flame. He notices some stole the olive oil in the lamp the day before. Maria was the one who took the oil and she is seen by Alfredo. Alfredo thinks she is an angel and she plays along. She has him give her money. The money allows her and Pasquale to leave the country. They find work in an old castle in Scotland where they have a real life ghost encounter.
            Ghost- Italian Style was silly and after a while it got to be too much. The last ten minutes I found to be the funniest when Alfredo sees Maria and thinks she is a ghost and when Pasquale and Maria sees an actual ghost. Sophie Loren was not a completely terrible actress but she was not the best. She was absolutely beautiful. If TCM ever happens to air Ghosts- Italian Style give it a try because it was a good story.