Boccaccio ’70 (1962): Film Anthology by Fellini, Visconti, De Sica

Boccaccio ’70 is an Italian film produced by Carlo Ponti and directed by Mario Monicelli, Federico Fellini, Luchino Visconti and Vittorio De Sica from an idea by Cesare Zavattini.

The anthology consists of four episodes, each by one of the directors, all about a different aspect of morality and love in modern times in the style of Giovanni Boccaccio.

Marisa Solinas as Luciana
Germano Giglioli as Renzo
Peppino De Filippo as Dr. Antonio Mazzuolo
Anita Ekberg as herself
Romy Schneider as Pupe
Tomas Milian as Ottavio
Romolo Valli as Zacchi
Sophia Loren as Zoe


Renzo e Luciana

Directed by Mario Monicelli. Written by Giovanni Arpino, Italo Calvino, Suso Cecchi d’Amico and Monicelli. Music by Piero Umiliani.

With Marisa Solinas and Germano Giglioli.

In Renzo e Luciana (Renzo and Luciana) a young couple tries to hide their marriage and the wife’s pregnancy from the draconian rules at their place of employment, which has banned female employees from getting married and having children.

Their efforts – both at their shared home (having temporarily moved into her family’s crowded apartment), and at work (where they go so far as to pretend not to know each other) – causes pressure to mount on the couple. Their hope is to make it through until they have managed to save some money to move out, and are dependent on Renzo going to night school to become an accountant. Finally their life together has some privacy, but they are increasingly separated by their respective shifts: he returns home from work just when she has to leave to go there.

This first episode was only included in the Italian distribution of the film. However, out of solidarity toward Monicelli, the other three directors did not go to the Cannes Film Festival for the presentation of the film.

Le Tentazioni del Dottor Antonio

Directed by Federico Fellini. Written by Fellini, Ennio Flaiano and Tullio Pinelli. Music by Nino Rota.

With Peppino De Filippo and Anita Ekberg.

In The Temptation of Dr Antonio, Dr Mazzuolo, a middle-aged man, has taken it upon himself to be the protector of Rome’s morality from what he sees as vice and immorality. The doctor (in his tiny Fiat equipped with police spotlight) wages his one-man crusade – shining the spotlight at lovers in parked cars, or bounding on stage of a cabaret, ordering the stage crew to shut the lights, as he closes the curtain behind a line of bewildered chorus girls. He admonishes the audience to ‘go home, and spend (their) money’ in a ‘better way instead of seeing this filth.’

His anger grows, when a provocative billboard of Anita Ekberg with the tag line “drink more milk” is put up near his residence. Little does he know how the billboard will impact his life. Throughout the film, children are heard singing the jingle “Bevete più latte, bevete più latte!” (“Drink more milk!”).

The image begins to haunt him with hallucinations in which Ekberg appears as a temptress. After his delirium culminates in throwing a spear at Ekberg’s image, he collapses on top of the billboard and is transported away in an ambulance to the children’s song.

Il Lavoro

Directed by Luchino Visconti. Written by Suso Cecchi d’Amico and Visconti. Music by Nino Rota.

With Romy Schneider, Tomas Milian, and Romolo Valli.

The Job is about an aristocratic couple, with the husband being caught by the press visiting prostitutes. After saying she intends to work for her income, the wife demands payment from her husband for her sexual services, to which he agrees.

La Riffa

Directed by Vittorio De Sica. Written by Cesare Zavattini. Music by Armando Trovajoli.

With Sophia Loren.

In The Raffle, a timid lottery winner is entitled to one night with the attractive Zoe (Sophia Loren), though she has other plans of her own.

Reel/Real Impact
An orchestrated version of the song “Bevete più latte,” from Le Tentazioni del Dottor Antonio, was one of 13 tracks, recorded by Italian band Piccola Orchestra Avion Travel and arranged by Fabrizio France, for their 2009 album “Nino Rota, L’Amico Magico,” released to mark the 30th anniversary of the 1979 death of composer Nino Rota.

“Bevete più latte” was also used in the song “Milk Sheik” by singer Lizzy Mercier Descloux on her album Mambo Nassau from 1981.