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Ossessione Movie Review

calamai visconti girotti luchino

Four years before Tay Garnett made MGM's The Postman Always Rings Twice, James M. Cain's grim tale of adultery starring Lana Turner and John Garfield, Luchino Visconti directed Clara Calamai and Massimo Girotti in 1942's Ossessione. The film ran into censorship difficulties in fascist Italy and copyright problems everywhere else. A key element in the Visconti version is the erosion of Calamai's desirability as she becomes more vulnerable to Girotti. John Garfield can not free himself from his fix on Lana Turner, even though he tries with Audrey Totter. Although Girotti doesn't shrink from engulfing Calamai, he is terrified by her reciprocal attentions. The same woman he once wanted fills him with fear and revulsion, and it is painful to watch as her eroticism begins to disgust him. Ossessione is a more uncomfortable film than 1946's glossy Postman, but Visconti spells out some unpleasant truths about the differing effects of passion on men and women.

1942 135m/B IT Massimo Girotti, Clara Calamai, Juan deLanda, Elio Marcuzzo; D: Luchino Visconti; W: Guiseppe de Santis, Mario Alicata; C: Aldo Tonti, Domenico Scala. VHS

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