New York, January 1954. An English-speaking cast, Jean Renoir‘s production and beautiful Technicolor photography, make this Anna Magnani starring vehicle one of the best released here to date by Italian Films Export. It is a prestige item, opening in New York on a two-a-day, reserved seat policy, at advanced admissions, and could be the means of enlarging the American audience for Italian films.
It is a different type of role for Miss Magnani, being the story of the adventures of an Italian theatre troupe in the New World in the early part of the 18th Century, which restricts her to a more subdued but nonetheless impressive performance in this, her first English-speaking role.
The story concerns itself mainly with the Columbine of the company, Miss Magnani, and her three suitors. A swordsman and soldier is the first to desire her ; then the territory’s most famous bullfighter ; and finally the Viceroy, the ruler of the Spanish colony. The ending finds her more contented with theatre-life than with real life, though perhaps she’s a trifle sadder.
The title refers to the magnificent vehicle which the Viceroy owns and which he prefers to give to the common lady rather than place in the hands of his snobbish and hypocritical court. It is also the means by which the story has its pseudo-happy finale.
The cast is an Anglo-Italo-American one and the performers give good support to the star, with Duncan Lamont as the Viceroy perhaps having an edge. A quartet of writers fashioned the story and screenplay, including the director, Renzo Avanzo, Jack Kirkland and Giulio Macchi. The music which adds to the spirit and tempo of the film, is from the works of Vivaldi and some traditional airs from the Italian theatre. It is a Delphinus Hoche Production, produced by Panaria Films.