The mature lawyer Giulio Broggini (Tognazzi) falls in love with the shapely seventeen year old Ivana (Rei), plays the part of the boyfriend in front of the interested parents (Brignone and Sonni), who smell the possibility of seeing debts paid and their daughter settled. His life as an unrepentant bachelor, frequenter of upper middle class women, is upset by a sudden passion for a commoner, not too beautiful, a woman of whom “he would be ashamed in public”, but of which he cannot do without. The girl is the shrewdest of all, because she has understood that the lawyer only wants to take her to bed. She feigns apathy, does not grant anything to her boyfriend and concocts a plan with the complicity of a peer. At one point she even thinks of killing the lawyer and entering his house to rob him. In the end, she settles for a ring worth two million lire and invents an unwanted pregnancy that brings her another million to pay the doctor and his silence.
Franco Giraldi shoots his first personal film adapting together with Ruggero Maccari the novel of the same name by Alba de Cespédes. La bambolona is a costume satire, melancholic and bitter, but at the same time it has elements of sexy comedy, at times morbid and at the limits of censorship for the historical period. Giraldi builds a film interrupted by interesting dreamlike parts that represent the nightmares and ancestral fears of the protagonist. The director inserts the theme of homosexuality with the character of a gay waiter, afraid that a relationship with an alleged nephew will be discovered. There are many sexy sequences: fleeting caresses under the table, stolen kisses, hands that slip into her cleavage and push up her skirt. A sequence in the theater, during The Barber of Seville is a real censorship risk part. The camera insists on Rei’s legs, frames stockings under her dress, passionate kisses and flashy necklines.
Giraldi stigmatizes a certain sexually repressed Italy, but also the forbidden desires and vices of the upper middle class. “There would be no whores if there weren’t pigs willing to pay,” is the philosophy of the film expressed by Isabella Rei in the daring finale. A non-existent uncle is the protagonist of the oneiric parts, during which Tognazzi imagines him as a lover and a rival, but also busy studying his true intentions. Very Fellini-like is the oneiric part with the dance of the hundred women that could be bought instead of a two million ring. Luis Bacalov’s music introduces a sequence of naked breasts and long legs.
Ugo Tognazzi is the mattatore of the film, he gives a great interpretation.
Isabella Rei – for the first time on the screen – is not to be outdone, in the part of an apathetic and absent seventeen-year-old girl, who pretends to play along with the engagement game, but organizes a plot to bring down the mature suitor.
Ugo Tognazzi: Giulio Broggini
Isabella Rei: Ivana Scarapecchia, the ‘bambolona’
Corrado Sonni: Rosario Scarapecchia, Ivana’s father
Lilla Brignone: Adelina
Luis Bacalov soundtrack