Il Magnifico Cornuto

Saturday, 13 August, Year 8 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

Il Magnifico Cornutoi is a beautiful Italian production detailing the intricacies of life among a meanwhile extinct set - that grande borghesia invidiously reviled by the народничество of all stripes and colors.

The smoothly operating Cristiana entraps the younger, fetching subaltern of her husband. She is a wonder to witness in action - invites her quarry to "help her break the ice" straight under the nose of the husband, much too preoccupied with an idle pursuit of a disinterested, young wife happily married (to the quarry!). She proceeds to break the ice alright - through displaying her soubrette, nude, sleeping. Such is the heart and soul of "cool" ; back before it was called "cool" because the accursed peasants hadn't yet gone nuts all over town ruining everything for everyone.

Cristina loves earnestly, and correctly. To accuse her is to declare oneself uncultured and uncouth, naught else. For eons beyond rememberance the only acceptable, the only smooth, pleasant, workable transfer of power worked on this mechanism, that the younger wife of the older capitalist took in the younger subaltern. From the bed of Eleanor he could then rule Aquitanie, and take a young woman, and age, and on it went. There's no functional replacement for this process ever devised in human society, nor is the continued search aught but folly by this point.

Cristina's lover's wife is however too young to have yet matured into this, and so she rebuffs the advances of the rather interested even-younger-man. Her husband is yet strong, and needs not replacement - not in any sense than the simple and direct "the money he holds, the capital he controls, the power he wields do not as of yet pine for younger hands". That's all. Between the two, we get to see both acceptal and refusal at work in the beautiful mechanism, and the display itself should be instructive and educative. It is, for this reason, a film that can scarcely be eschewed, much like Voltaire can scarcely be eschewed - only goats may live unaware of these things.

There's some ditzy Aesop stuck on side of rifle, for no purpose, it only gets heavy. You're invited to see right through what the body on display aims to present, straight into what it is in fact presenting. Cinema, in this respect, is very much like fuff : easier.

  1. 1964, by Antonio Pietrangeli, with Ugo Tognazzi, Claudia Cardinale, Michele Girardon. []
Category: Trilematograf
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6 Responses

  1. 1965 New York Times begs to differ:

    ' The Magnificent Cuckold' at Fine Arts Theater Brings Back 'Conjugal Bed' Hero
    A.H. WEILER.
    Published: April 20, 1965

    IT would appear to be good business for the producers of trat delicious Italian farce of two years ago, "The Conjugal Bed," which dealt with the rigors of marital love, to toss Ugo Tognazzi, the exhausted man in the case, into another connubial fix.

    This time our hero is involved in the mentral strains attendant on real and imaginary cuckoldry with the beauteous Claudia Cardinale as his spouse, and if "The Magnificent Cuckold" delivers a good deal less than a laugh a minute, it is, nevertheless, a pleasant diversion that illustrates nothing more than one of its less inspired lines of dialogue: "In marriage, trusting one another is everything."

    Using that bit of rudimentary wisdom as a keystone, four writers have constructed a rather thin antic that should, however, keep some of the customers at the Fine Arts Theater guessing up to its denouement. With English subtitles that do well by the original talk, which is both flip and serious, this attenuated joke is made casual and natural by most of the principals. A twangy jazz background score with a real beat accents the film's various moods.

    The moods, too, are simple and easily understood. Mr. Tognazzi plays a hat tycoon who is ecstatically, if not hungrily, in love with his youthful wife. It is all blissful, that is, until our man, middle-aged and somewhat of a square among his blasé, upper-class friends to whom cuckoldry is as common as it was to Boccaccio, is seduced by one of them. At this point doubts and suspicions, like conscience, begin to plague him. If he could succumb to extramarital confections, why not his gorgeous mate?

    The scenarists and Angelo Pietrangeli, the director, using a variety of quick cuts and visual projections of introspective thoughts, illustrate our harried hero's attempts to unearth proof of his wife's infidelity. There is a mildly funny bit as his old, trusted employe, set to shadow our innocent heroine, not only loses his quarry but is himself followed. There are a couple of fantasy scenes—one in which Miss Cardinale does a sensuous strip tease in black, filmy negligee before a covey of admirers, and another where Mr. Tognazzi does variations on nabbing her and her lover in flagrante delicto—that are funny, imaginative and certainly show Miss Cardinale to advantage.

    Mr. Tognazzi, a solidly built, roughly handsome dark-haired virile type, projects professionalism superior to his material on many occasions. Gnawed by jealously, he will eye a casual admirer of his wife, at a housewarming they give, with the revulsion due a snake.

    Capable of towering rages, he also can try to wheedle his way out of the arms of the anxious lady who has led him down the primrose path. Miss Cardinale, on the other hand, is favored by nature in being the possessor of a smile as bright and cheerful as Italian sunshine and a body to turn the head of even a senescent man. As the lady who is wronged—up to a point—she can project her feelings too. Her voice, if any male is listening, is somewhat less than musical.

    Michele Girardon, as the lass to whose charms Mr. Tognazzi is exposed, is properly seductive and a bit reminiscent of Patricia Neal. Bernard Blier, as a cuckolded and sympathetic friend of our hero, and Salvo Randone, as his employe, handle the leading supporting roles naturally.

    "Magnificent" is not the word for their efforts, of course. But they succeed in making this game of conjugal chairs mildly amusing in proof that it sometimes takes more than two to tango or make a marriage.

  2. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Saturday, 13 August 2016

    The New York Times, of 1965 or 2065, can barely muffle inaudibly past my cock shoved down its throat ; and yet for hearing its own pitiful mews still fails to comprehend its predicament.

  3. > we get to see both acceptal and refusal
    > acceptal

  4. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Saturday, 13 August 2016

    Yes. About time this sad clod of a language were systematised. Acceptall.

  5. Lol. Why not refusance then.

  6. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Saturday, 13 August 2016

    Fuff. Shorter.

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