Assessing “The Magnificent Cuckold”

Antonio Pietrangeli‘s The Magnificent Cuckold (1964) is a worthy film. In it, as imdb.com puts it, “Andrea Artust begins to have doubts about the loyalty of his beautiful wife. When doubt becomes an obsession, his behavior becomes completely crazy . . .”

Scripted from a play, the piece is not as fresh as it surely was in ’64. Though seriocomic, it greatly resembles Chabrol’s non-comic L’Enfer. What makes it work, however, are the flawless performances of Ugo Tognazzi (Andrea) and Claudia Cardinale (his wife, Maria Grazia) as well as its bright worldliness.

That Andrea himself is an adulterer has much to do with his reactions to everything, including, of course, his suspicions about Maria Grazia. It matters little that she doesn’t quite track, because Cardinale makes her believable and the chemistry between her and Tognazzi is just shy of outstanding. It is a powerfully watchable movie.

(In Italian with English subtitles)

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