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.