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Seduced and Abandoned (Criterion Collection)

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Seduced and Abandoned (Criterion Collection) + Divorce Italian Style (Criterion Collection)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 17 reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Battling For Honor--A Classic Italian Comedy Takes No Prisoners Jan. 3 2007
By K. Harris - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Pietro Germi, fresh from the success of his "Divorce Italian Style" (which won a Screenplay Oscar), returns with another slapstick slice of Sicilian life. Those familiar with the genre, and particularly Germi, will recognize the same black humor and macabre sensibilities that fashioned many pictures of the day. There is the requisite machismo, the sexual double standards, the wild gesticulating, and the need to preserve family honor at all cost. Wait a minute--maybe those are the same qualities employed in many films today!

I'll be frank, if you don't know what you're getting into, "Seduced and Abandoned" may seem a bit misogynistic. There is definitely a strong division of the sexes which we're not as accustomed to seeing in modern films. However, much of the sexual warfare plays as satire--so even though the stereotypes can be somewhat dismaying, none of the characters escape unscathed. Basically, Germi sets an environment where everyone is despicable. It's the blackest of humor that can make you identify with the characters even as they are proven to be buffoons and hypocrites, and that's a real achievement of "Seduced." You accept things at face value and go with it, no matter how ludicrous it may seem.

The plot revolves around a man, who while engaged, impregnates his fiance's sister. This sets in motion a riotous chain of events as the families battle to maintain respect. It would be difficult to describe much of what happens concisely, so let's just say things continue to escalate as everyone (at one point or another) joins in the moral debate with a strong-headed opinion.

"Seduced and Abandoned" is a very funny picture that still maintains its appeal today. The cast is filled with colorful characters giving robust performances. Definitely recommended for lovers of Italian cinema or screwball comedies--this is a dark and amusing picture that doesn't play it nice and safe. That's always refreshing. KGHarris, 01/07.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Hilarious! Oct. 16 2006
By Fellini's Hippocampus - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This movie is hilarious and entertaining as can be! I loved "Divorce Italian Style" by Pietro Germi so I took the risk of buying "Seduced and Abandoned" from Criterion without ever seeing it. In my opinion I actually enjoyed it more than Divorce Italian Style! I won't repeat the plot again but the movie definitly brings you into their family. Once your sucked in it turns into a hilarious nail biter taking unexpected turns and twists. Very memorable movie I highly recommend purchasing for repeated viewings!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Seduced and Abandoned June 28 2007
By John Farr - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Black comedy skewers Sicilian mores with a sharp cinematic knife, making "Seduced" by turns funny and tragic. Agnese, the central object of all the fuss, is maltreated throughout, but the beautiful Sandrelli strikes the right balance so that our sympathies for her don't overwhelm the film's broadly humorous tone. Though the ferret-like Puglisi is tailor-made for the unsympathetic role of Peppino, this is truly Urzi's film. His volcanic Don Vincenzo serves as comic center-piece and driving force behind the whole tumultuous affair. An unbridled satiric masterpiece from director Germi.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Better than "Divorce, Italian Style" Aug. 17 2013
By V. Risoli - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"Seduced and Abandoned" was Pietro Germi, the intensely hard-working and intelligent director (and actor) who basically created the genre of "Commedia all'Italiana" which extended from Italian neo-Realism to depict problems with the morals and mores of Italian politics and society through the guise of a black and sometimes grotesque tragi-comedy. He began with great success with 1962's "Divorce Italian Style" which had the great presence of Marcello Mastroianni, but Germi follow-up, 1964's "Seduced and Abandoned" had an even better performance in Saro Urzi who plays the patriarchal head of the family at a a time when "Family and Honor" meant everything to him, and daughter "Agnesse" played by Stefania Sandrelli, who is seduced and abandoned by her sister's fiance for one night, opening up new insight into Italy's antiquated laws once again about how men, and especially then, how women were looked upon to behave about sex and marriage, etc. Everything about "Seduced and Abandoned" is exemplary of excellence, problems with "Divorce, Italian Style" made better, so that, "Seduced and Abandoned" may be the lesser known, but all around the better, more satisfying motion picture. The original story is by Pietro Germi and Luciano Vincenzoni with brilliant cinematography by Aiace Parolin and costume design by Carlo Egidi. The entire cast is brilliant, even down the expertly picked faces by Germi in the scenes employing extras, purposely done by Germi to depict similarly grotesque renderings of famous paintings he admired. Urzi won many awards and nominations for his role, and Germi stuck by the less known actor than some suggestions for casting the producers had saying if Urzi could not play the part, he would not make the film. It is a magnificent performance, and so integral to the story, that some of Urzi prizes were for supporting actor. In addition to Sandrelli as the jilted girl, Aldo Puglisi is "Peppino"" the scoundrel, Lando Buzzanca as "Antonio" the older brother, Paola Biggio as "Mathilde" the sister whose fiance strays from her and Oreste Palella as Police Chief Polenza who is constantly humorously trying to imagine Italy without Sicily in relation to it any longer because of the way the people behaved. This Criterion Collection presentation is excellent, with numerous extras including interviews, screen tests, trailer, booklet, etc. This black-and-white film in Italian with English subtitles shows that good effort into a follow-up can pay off when one uses their intelligence and creativity imaginatively.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Oh Boy . . . July 9 2010
By Matthew Patton - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
An adolescent girl (Stefania Sandrelli) is seduced and impregnated by the wormy fiancee (Aldo Puglisi) of her sister (Paolo Biggio). When her father, a minor Sicilian aristocrat (Saro Urzi) demands that said fiancee marry her, he refuses to marry "damaged goods." Thus begins an epic battle of wills that pretty much ruins the lives of everyone involved. It's a comedy . . .

And what a comedy--not just the brilliant script, which director Pietro Germi co-wrote with the great comedy-writing team of Age and Scarpelli and Luciano Vincenzoni, but the explosively funny performances he gets from his cast, most importantly Sandrelli as the tough-as-nails heroine, Puglisi as the fiancee from hell, and Urzi as her ghastly but well-meaning father. They are beautifully supported by Lando Buzzanca as Sandrelli's galoot of a brother and Leopoldo Trieste as the impoverished major aristocrat that Dad tries to set up as the new fiancee for the older sister. You will laugh constantly, but the laughs will mostly come out of the wrong side of your mouth, and the final scenes are both completely logical and quietly devastating. And you'll still be laughing. The story that Germi was telling, as in his previous masterpiece, DIVORCE ITALIAN STYLE, is grim indeed, and needed to be told. But rather than self-righteous polemics, we get withering, bases-clearing satire. Which proved to be the perfect approach.