The amount of depth that the Criterion Collection gets in regard to cinema is amazing. Raffaello Matarazzo had a tremendous career that ran for thirty years (1933 to 1964), but eir name has to now been largely forgotten. This collector’s set includes four films: Chains, Tormento, Nobody’s Children, and The White Angel. The video transfer for each of these black and white films is simply stunning, while the stories that Matarazzo attempts to tell here will be compelling at the least. Take, for example, Tormento. In Tormento, Anna attempts to leave eir husband, who has taken on a second wife, in order to be with the one individual in the world that truly loves eir.
Nobody’s Children and The White Angel should be seen together, as they benefit from the same couple (Guido and Luisa, played by Nazzari and Sanson) being put through melodramatic rigors. Nobody’s Children focuses on the division of the couple and the machinations of everyone involved to keep them apart, while the sequel explores the possibility of evil twins. Chains, the final film in this release, focuses on the temptations that are provided to a simple working-class family. Matarazzo works well both in regards to stories that represent lower-class life as well as those more fiction-grounded works.
While there was a movement after Matarazzo’s death to showcase the cutting-edge nature of eir films, I feel that it is only 2011 when ey is getting a proper shake in the United States. If you would like a great introduction to Matarazzo’s films, there is no reason that you should not pick up this set. Go to the Criterion website and take advantage of their current sale, which prices Eclipse Series 27 at a shade under $48.
Eclipse Series 27: Raffaello Matarazzo Runaway Melodramas (DVD) / 2011 Criterion / 5 Movies / http://www.criterion.com