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Raffaello Matarazzo's Runaway Melodramas - Eclipse Series 27 (Criterion)

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Amazon.com: 4 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Italy's Douglas Sirk, master of melodrama July 9 2011
By Frankdecavalcante - Published on Amazon.com
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I was fascinated by a review of a reissue of Raffaello Matarazzo's Runaway Melodramas in the New York Times and couldnt wait to purchase the boxed set. The showpieces of the collection are the two related melodramas, "Nobody's Children" and "The White Angel." Both star veteran Italian actor, Amedeo Nazzari, an Errol Flynn lookalike and a beautiful Yvonne Sanson, who at various times looks like Joan Crawford and Ava Gardner. The plots are absolutely fantastic, with villains out of the early silents and more plot complications and coincidences that truly defy reason. Both stories verge on camp sensibilities, yet both films are utterly fascinating. Just when you think you have seen enough, the director surprises us once again with another unbelievable plot twist. It would be easy to poke fun at these films, but they never fail to entertain, and, at times, they are truly moving. Freudian undertones of suffocating mother love, the eternal Italian Madonna/ whore conflict and the Christian idea of suffering leading to redemption infuse these offbeat and highly melodramatic films. We may laugh at them, based on our familiarity with the classic Italian films of the same time, but they always are engrossing and they never bore.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Superb Sept. 1 2011
By Antony Sellers - Published on Amazon.com
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While Italian neo-realist filmmaking conquered home and the world, with directors such as de Sica, Rossellini & Visconti at the forefront of the paradigm changing movement, in Italy itself, in the late 1940s, and early to mid 1950s, these heightened melodramas from Raffaello Matarazzo, were king of the box office, beloved of the ordinary classes of peasants and factory workers, telling stories of relationships stretched to bizarre limits, with restitution often found with a heavy overlay of conventional Catholic morality, they nevertheless remain hugely entertaining, and form a missing link in our understanding of Italian cinema of the period. One of the finest Eclipse sets yet!
Beautiful Old Italian Movies April 4 2014
By Vincent du St. Germaine - Published on Amazon.com
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I bought these a a gift for a friend. Very tragic old stories from Europe. Beautifully done, but if you don't know this kind of thing, it may be hard to get used to.
Don't underestimate the power of melodrama March 2 2014
By jacob - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Buying this set actually triggered an immense wave of guilt--mostly because, the more i thought about it, the less attractive madcap melodramas became--It wasn't until the damned thing arrived that I understood why it had seemed so worth it. These films combine moments of pathos akin to a Bette Davis tearjerker, the elegance of style common to all well constructed 50's greyscale dramas, with plot lines that make even the most absurd daytime soaps seem believable. you'll cry, you'll laugh--sometimes when you're not supposed to--but you won't have reason to regret this purchase. The image quality of this set is actually better some criterion releases i've seen, and that's not so much a knock to criterion as it is a bravo (or bravissimo) to eclipse. In all Honesty, these are guilty pleasure films, you don't want to enjoy them, but you do, and i love it!