“Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”
Coincidentally just before I published my previous post, "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow," I discovered an older movie with the same title prominently displayed at my favorite video rental store. I noted Italian cast names I immediately recognized -- Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni; director, Vittorio De Sica. Prominent film producer Carlos Ponti had earlier discovered Loren,promoted her career,then later married her after divorcing his wife. Ponti’s and Loren’s marriage was not recognized in Italy and by the Catholic Church creating international news headlines in the Sixties. A few years later he married her again in France where the marriage was recognized.
This Italian color movie was originally released to theaters in 1963 ultimately catapulting Loren and Mastroianni onto the European and American movie scene. Awards were received and also notoriety for one Loren visually sensuous striptease scene considered quite risqué at the time. The year was significant in my love life, so I wasn’t giving much attention to movies. I don’t recall ever seeing this movie until now, though I do remember the Italian marriage controversy.
I viewed this color DVD movie and enjoyed the humor this past weekend. I was most intrigued with seeing these then-young actors at the beginning of careers that resulted in each of them appearing in some classic movies later for which they are better known as is their director. Here’s the movie's recap from my point of view.
This light comedy consists of three short stories in Italian language with English subtitles. The New York Times reviewer, Bosley Crowther, writes “…the title Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow has absolutely no relation to the film…” with which I disagree. Perhaps he has no historical reference for the temperament and prevailing attitudes during the times represented in each of the stories. Certainly the movie isn't resoundingly heavy and deep for analysis, but I see a variety of associations to the title though I mention only a few here.
The first story occurs “Yesterday” when women’s primary function is to bring many children into the world. Loren’s character is busy doing this, trying to tweak her husband’s waning participation as he becomes increasingly physically exhausted with each addition to their growing brood. She has good reason for wanting to remain pregnant in order to avoid going to jail for a few months due to an infraction of the law.
Next is “Today’s” story (1963) reflecting the materialistic attitude building then in various societies of the world. Loren’s very affluent character drives a Rolls Royce and casually wears a fur coat she nonchalantly literally tosses and drags around. Her wealthy husband is out of the country on business. She openly pursues and casually flaunts a developing relationship with a man of lesser means, Mastroianni's character. He is incredulous that she doesn't exhibit a bit more discretion. Social mores of the time are changing to more liberal freedoms for some women. We do learn the depth of Loren’s character and what she truly believes based on her actions when there is an incident with the Rolls at the stories end.
The final story, “Tomorrow,” showcases Loren’s character as a high class call girl. She’s the truly sexually liberated woman seeking independence and self-sufficiency but not immediate marriage. Mastroianni’s character is one of her regulars who visits whenever he’s able to plot a trip to her city for his father’s business. She flirts with a young man intensely attracted to her who is visiting his grandparents apartment. Their outdoor patio adjoins Loren’s. She is startled to discover he’s a seminary student preparing for priesthood’s celibate life. Ultimately these characters lives become enmeshed trying to preserve his chastity. Mastroianni’s character becomes increasingly frustrated he’s not receiving attention he desires. This is the story containing the scene that aroused so much notoriety when Loren seductively strips down to a skimpy black bra and panties. Here’s a somewhat fuzzy YouTube link.