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The Law (1959)

Cast: Gina Lollobrigida, Gina Lollobrigida, Pierre Brasseur, more...
Director: Jules Dassin, Jules Dassin
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Image Entertainment
Genre: Drama, Foreign, France
Running Time: 121 min.
Languages: French
Subtitles: English
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This title is currently out of print.

Jules Dassin, blacklisted during the McCarthy era, directs this routine, ostensibly romantic tale that really courts an underlying theme of the misuse of power. Based on a popular French novel and set in a small Mediterranean town, the story involves a small group of men and the woman several of them desire. The men gather around in the local tavern each evening to play a rather vicious game called "The Law." One man is chosen to dictate to the others, and they have to do what he says, no matter how humiliating. Marietta (Gina Lollobrigida) is the gorgeous servant of Don Cesare (Pierre Brasseur), desired by Francesco, the son of a crime boss (Yves Montand), and by her brother-in-law. She herself has fallen in love with Enrico (Marcello Mastroianni), a poor engineer. Determined to get a dowry and thereby be able to marry Enrico, Marietta turns the tables on the men who play "The Law." ~ Eleanor Mannikka, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Diamond in the Rough by FKatrishen September 25, 2006 - 9:19 AM PDT
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
Ditto to the previous reviewer. I loved this movie. The cast is great and the acting is great. The setting in a small Mediteranean town seems real not at all contrived. The plot is mult-faceted so the power plays are going on at all levels in the society to determine who is the dominant player or "The Law". I don't understand why the movie reviewer called it a routine plot. I thought it was fairly unique. It was funny that it was dubbed in French but I got use to it. I thought perhaps with a multinational cast that they each were speaking their own language and then it was dubbed in multiple languages. Ive Montand appears to be speaking French and doesn't appear to be dubbed.

Dassin Lays Down "The Law" by talltale October 17, 2005 - 5:34 AM PDT
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
One of those films I'd never have encountered were it not for GC, Jules Dassin's delightful and surprising morality tale THE LAW is a kind of diamond in the rough. The cast alone ought to give film buffs proper pause: Gina Lollobrigida, Melina Mercouri (just prior to "Never on Sunday"!), Marcello Mastroianni, Yves Montand, Pierre Brasseur, and the priceless Paolo Stoppa (who, according to the IMDB, made some 188 movies in his 50-year career).

While not a great film, this post-"Rififi" 1959 film is full of love, sex, humor, violence and an appreciation of living with all its ups and downs. Dassin, as director and co-writer, beautifully captures the look, feel and under-belly of a small Italian town (the scenery is spectacular, and the DVD transfer is crisp and rich). Here are all the gossip, affairs and power games, as one of the townspeople (Lollobrigida) attempts to get out from under the crushing weight of hypocrisy, family and church. There is immense life in this movie, and an almost perfect rendering of a time and place.

Released in the U.S. (badly dubbed) under the title "Where the Hot Wind Blows," the movie was pretty much dismissed out of hand. Seeing it now, almost half a century later, that's no surprise. In terms of its open attitude regarding sexuality/sensuality, it puts to shame anything Hollywood was concurrently producing. I'd put this on your Don't Miss list, and I doubt you'll be disappointed. It may not qualify as a "classic," but it remains rip-roaringly good entertainment, served up by a director, cast and crew with class to spare. ("Crassus" is correct; the DVD's soundtrack is in French. But that didn't bother me, and I hope it won't disturb your enjoyment. The dubbing is excellent, in any case.)

audio is French, not Italian by crassus September 21, 2003 - 2:39 AM PDT
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
Please be aware that the audio is French, not Italian,
which is not intuitively obvious, this being a great Italian classic.

This title is currently unavailable on disc or is no longer in-print.

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GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.12)
17 Votes
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Cinema Italiana

Coming Soon from Criterion: Pietro Germi's Seduced and Abandoned and Francesco Rosi's Hands Over the City

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