Plot: What’s it about?
Agnese Ascalone (Stefania Sandrelli) has just lost her virginity, but that is only the start of a whirlwind that soon engulfs her entire family. At first she refused the advances of the older Peppino (Aldo Puglisi), but she soon gave in and the young Agnese was then deflowered. Beyond the fact that Peppino was not a good man, he was also her older sister’s fiance, which means the situation is delicate, to say the least. Agnese is filled with regret and confesses what happened and that she is pregnant, which sends her father Don (Saro Urzi) into a manic rage. He takes a few shots at both Agnese and Peppino, before he proposes the idea of marriage. After all, the good name of his family has been besmirched by this incident, but if Peppino marries her, then the harm isn’t as deep. But Peppino reminds him that he has the right to marry a virgin, as local law states. Don draws a line and says that either Peppino marries Agnese, or he will be turned over to the police as a rapist. No matter which direction these people travel in, madness seems to follow. In the end, will this family be able to find any kind of peace, or has this one act doomed the entire lot?
When I think of The Criterion Collection, the genre my mind goes to first is drama, then action and after that, documentaries. This is with good reason, as Criterion has numerous examples of each of those dramas, but also, when we discuss “great” films, usually dramas are on top of the pile. But comedies can be “great” films too and Criterion has added another comedy to their line with Seduced and Abandoned, a wild and out of control picture from Pietro Germi. Alas, I wouldn’t rank Seduced and Abandoned as a “great” film, though it is quite humorous and memorable at times. The entertainment is solid, even though the film is quite dated, but there is nothing that makes the picture stand out as unique or impressive. The humor is well handled, with an emphasis on farce and satire, with increasing spirals into madness throughout. So yes, this is a funny and well crafted movie, it is isn’t so funny or well crafted that it separates from the pack. Germi’s Divorce Italian Style is better all around, though as I said, this is still a worthwhile movie. The story pokes fun at the antiquated culture involved, as well as the social structure within that culture. Seduced and Abandoned is a good movie, but I guess I expected a little more and in the end, this just doesn’t stand out that much. As such, a rental should more than suffice in most cases, as Criterion hasn’t done a lot with this release.
Video: How does it look?
Seduced and Abandoned is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. he movie has been restored for this release and it shows, as the print looks very clean the image is quite sharp indeed. I saw minimal wear signs and debris, which will please fans for sure, as the film’s visuals are allowed to shine here. A little grain is evident at times and some edge enhancement is present, but not enough of either to lessen the experience. The black & white image is very impressive, thanks to accurate black levels and strong detail presence, very impressive work indeed. Another disc from Criterion and of course, another excellent visual transfer.
Audio: How does it sound?
The audio is also more than solid, as good as mono can be and in this case, that’s enough. This movie is driven by dialogue and of course, mono can handle that and here, it presents the vocals in fine form. I was pleased with how crisp and clean the dialogue was and even though I don’t speak Italian, I can tell sharp vocals when I hear them. As always, Criterion has included the original Italian language track, which sounds terrific all around and should satisfy fans. This disc also includes optional English subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The main supplemental material is interviews, with both a dedicated featurette and some individual pieces. This disc also includes a screen test, as well as the film’s theatrical trailer.