(Italian title: Abbasso la ricchezza! Down With Wealth!)
After having hoarded millions, aunt Gioconda, a fruiterer and pleasant widow, decides to leave the modest shop and to actually start to be an authentic lady. And first of all she enters, with a considerable retinue of relatives, the sumptuous country-house of a ruined count. So begins the second life of the fruiterer, who now insists with a certain gravity upon being called Donna Gioconda, she collects Picasso and Van Gogh pictures, and calls, to be in tune, on intellectual saloons of the town. But the money so rapidly heaped up gives no happiness the worthy Donna who, on the contrary, soon enough is entangled in a lot of troubles, at a struggle with parasites and swindlers of any kind. The wretch loses her rest, her peace, her appetite, until, millions having scampered away, she returns to the modest shop, wherefrom she had set out.
And there she finds again the peace lost and the good, stout wisdom of those who work to live and through work give sense to life.
New York, May 1949.
Anna Magnani finds it not so easy to be a newly rich. She is mulcted when she frequents “exclusive saloons,” her sister has romantic troubles and Anna herself yearns for a man she cannot have, the noble but poor Vittorio De Sica.
This is a light offering, mostly comedy and fairly entertaining but not for art houses. It is strictly a vehicle for Magnani the magnificent, the mature and sturdy beauty known through Italian films that include Open City, Before Him All Rome Trembled and Angelina. Here she’s a raucous extrovert drawing laughs as an ex-fruit peddler in high society. For the first time in her movie career she sings a song — husky crooning — and does a dance — American style. The American influence is brought to bear by a GI wolf who is wooing her sister, and will hand American audiences some extra laughs. Vittorio De Sica is both polished and warm, in short, perfect, as the impoverished nobleman. Laura Gore proves that French maids have nothing on the Italian ones.