Cinema: Prosciutto and Melancholy

"It is a sad house where the cock is silent and the hen makes all the noise." So clucks a resident of Santa Vittoria, summarizing the marriage of the Bombolinis, Italo (Anthony Quinn) and Rosa (Anna Magnani).

But then, the whole wine-rich village is melancholy—until it learns that the Germans are coming to take over the town and its only treasure, vino. Bombolini, the town drunk, is hastily proclaimed mayor. His single responsibility: to hide a million bottles of vermouth. His metamorphosis from clown to hero —and what he does with the wine—provides The Secret of Santa Vittoria.

In the recent past, Producer-Director...

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