After years of working mostly on comedies and literary adaptations, Raffaello Matarazzo turned to melodrama with this intense tale of a tight-knit working-class family shattered by temptation. There’s a touch of noir in Chains (Catene), in which the virtuous yet earthy Yvonne Sanson, as the devoted wife of a mechanic (Amedeo Nazzari), finds herself unwillingly drawn back toward a criminal ex-lover. –The Criterion Collection
Raffaello Matarazzo (Rome, 17 August 1909 – Rome, 17 May 1966) was an Italian film-maker. He started writing film reviews for Roman newspaper Il Tevere before re-editing scripts for the Italian film company Cines. His first films were comedies until he moved to melodrama genre and with Catene, produced by Titanus in 1949, he became the most successful Italian director. Audience loved his melodramas. Critics don’t, they said that Matarazzo made films Neorealismo d’appendice (neorealism wannabe). Lately the 70’s some film critics try to restore the lost Matarazzo’s fame. French magazine Positif loved his erotical – historical peplum Ship of Lost Women. —Wikipedia
What astounds me is how Matarazzo and Montuori clearly defy the economics of shooting to craft incredibly poetic moments! Rosa attempts to balance the reality behind her husband's dangerous job to execute fireworks and the romantic sensibility of their observation and experience, that comes to represent the desire and lust for lover Emilio. Incredible, especially since I, too, want to experience the fireworks!
Perfectly-rendered genre melodrama that glimpses the cracks of time-period socio-sexual politics. Plus, the post-war leftist Italian critics hated it, which pretty much guarantees it's a masterpiece. The lead is a dead ringer for an old flame and falls on her sword just as beautifully.
"It's easy to enjoy Raffaello Matarazzo's melodramas for the campy excess of their acting and story lines," blogs Dave Kehr, "but it's more