Seduced and Abandoned
The vita is far from dolce in Seduced and Abandoned, Pietro Germi’s bitter comedy skewering Italy’s moral values in the 1960s. Sicilian petty tyrant Don Vincenzo Ascalante (Saro Urzì, who looks like a mustached Antonin Scalia) exercises a brutal control over his family. So when 16-year-old Agnese (Stefania Sandrelli) gets pregnant by her sister’s fiancée, papa erupts like Mount Etna. Don Vincenzo’s obsessions with virginity and family honor propel him from threats and blackmail to a murder plot and a forced marriage. Germi bites his thumb at parents, gossips, priests and lawyers, all complicit in the double standard: ”It’s a man’s right to ask, a woman’s duty to refuse.”
EXTRAS A bit thin: brief chats with Sandrelli and Lando Buzzanca, who plays son Antonio; an experts’ discussion of Germi’s career notes that producers originally wanted Spencer Tracy, then Ernest Borgnine, as the father, but Germi held out for Urzì, who won the top award at Cannes.