La Mandragola

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  • 1965
  • 1 hr 43 min
  • 6.4  (310)

La Mandragola is a 1965 Italian comedy-drama film directed by Alberto Lattuada. The movie is adapted from a play of the same name by the Italian Renaissance writer Niccolò Machiavelli. The film stars Rosanna Schiaffino, Philippe Leroy, and Romolo Valli in the lead roles. The story is set in 16th-century Florence, where Callimaco, a young man, falls in love with Lucrezia, who is married to an elderly but wealthy merchant Nicia. Callimaco decides to use the help of a wily priest, Friar Timoteo, to seduce Lucrezia. The friar suggests that Callimaco pretend to be a doctor and persuade Nicia to let his wife sleep with another man, who would then use an aphrodisiac to make her more willing. Callimaco happily agrees to the plan and manages to seduce Lucrezia with the priest’s help.

However, things take a complicated turn when Lucrezia becomes pregnant, and Nicia worries about being ridiculed by his peers for being impotent. The priest advises Nicia to lie about the baby’s father and claims that it was conceived during his own visit to their home. The situation gets even more complicated when a local prankster, Ligurio, gets wind of the story and decides to profit from it by blackmailing the other characters.

La Mandragola is an amusing and witty satire about love, lust, and power. The film takes place in a vivid historical setting and offers a glimpse into Machiavelli’s complex world. The movie’s visual style is colorful and imaginative, and the costumes and sets feel authentic and realistic. The film stars some of Italy’s finest actors, including Rosanna Schiaffino, who gives a compelling and nuanced performance as the conflicted Lucrezia.

The film boasts an excellent screenplay that captures Machiavelli’s dry wit and cutting social commentary. The dialogue is sharp and sarcastic, and the characters are all complex and multifaceted. La Mandragola deals with themes such as deception, morality, and ambition, offering a fearless critique of the hypocritical world of the powerful. The film shows how even the most virtuous and innocent individuals can become corrupted by power and desire.

The soundtrack by Carlo Rustichelli is a highlight of the movie, adding an element of whimsy and fun to the proceedings. The music perfectly complements the film’s lighthearted tone and reinforces the idea that the story is meant to be enjoyed rather than taken too seriously.

Overall, La Mandragola is a delightful and smart film that showcases the talents of its director, cast, and crew. The movie is a testament to Machiavelli’s enduring influence on Italian literature and culture and is a must-see for anyone interested in classic Italian cinema. Whether you are a fan of farces, comedies, or historical dramas, La Mandragola is sure to entertain and amuse you.

La Mandragola
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  • Release Date
  • Runtime
    1 hr 43 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.4  (310)