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Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

July 17, 2011 by  



Entertaining, sexy and fun!  “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” won the 1964 Academy Award for “Best Foreign Language Film” and there is no doubt that Sophia Loren’s sexy performance onscreen was the biggest attraction at the time.  With the release of this De Sica film on Blu-ray and the fact that it is bundled with the feature-length documentary “Vittorio D.”, easily makes this one Blu-ray worth owning!  Highly recommended!

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Images courtesy of © 1963 Surf Film SRL, 2011 Kino Lorber, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

YEAR OF FILM: 1963

DURATION: 118 Minutes (film)/95 min. (documentary)

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:35:1), Italian with English Subtitles

COMPANY: Lorber Films/Kino Lorber/Surf Film

RELEASE DATE: May 17, 2011

 

Directed by Vittorio De Sica

“Adelina” by Eduardo De Filippo, Isabella Quarantotti

“Anna” by Alberto Moravia, Cesare Zavattini, Bella Billa, Lorenza Zanuso

“Mara” by Cesare Zavattini

Produced by Carlo Ponti

Music by Armando Trovajoli

Cinematography by Giuseppe Rotunno

Edited by Adriana Novelli

Production Design by Ezio Frigerio

Costume Design by Piero Tosi

Vittorio D.

Directed by Mario Canale, Annarosa Morri

Edited by Adalberto Gianuario, Cecilia Belletti

Produced by Massimo Vigliar

Executive Producers: Mario Canale, Elena Francot, Alfredo Francot

Starring:

Sophia Loren as Adelina Sbaratti/Anna Molteni/Mara

Marcello Mastroianni as Carmine Sbaratti/Renzo/Augusto Rusconi

Aldo Giuffre as Pasquale Nardella

Agostino Salvietti as Dr. Verace

Lino Mattera as Amedeo Scapece

Tecla Scarano as Verace’s Sister

Silvia Monelli as Elivira Nardella

Armando Trovajoli as Giorgio Ferrario

Tina Pica as Grandmother Ferrario

Gianni Ridolfi as Umberto

Gennaro Di Gregorio as Grandfather

Academy Award® WINNER Best Foreign Language Film – 1964

Winner of the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar® at the 1964 Academy Awards®, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow is a sparklingly original comedy that casts Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren in three different stories set throughout Italy.

In Naples, they are poor but resourceful, selling black market cigarettes on the streets. In Milan, Loren is costumed in Christian Dior and debates her preference for a Rolls Royce or her husband. And in Rome, Mastroianni is an industry scion who helps Loren’s prostitute set a wavering priest back onto the spiritual plane. This episode features Sophia’s famous striptease, which was recreated 30 years later in Robert Altman’s Ready To Wear. Witty and unforgettable, this gem from master filmmaker Vittorio de Sica (Two Women, Marriage Italian Style) is picture-postcard beautiful and effortlessly hilarious.


Vittorio De Sica, the filmmaker and actor who captured the attention of the world through Italian Neo-Realism with films such as “Shoeshine”, “The Bicycle Thief” and “Umberto D.”.

Known for his neorealist films in the ’40s and ’50s, by the ’60s, De Sica was a man who did what he wanted to do and that meant changing genres and experimenting with various themes.  And in 1961, he would go on to create a film that would feature an all-star Italian and American cast titled “The Last Judgement” (Il Giudizio Universale) and also go from creating films about the poor to the people flourishing during the post-war economic boom (known as the Italian Economic Miracle) in which Italy would transform itself to a major industrial power starting from the ’50s through the ’70s.  A subject that De Sica would focus in his 1963 comedy film “Il Boom”.

While known for his neorealistic films and also his starring role in the 1957 film “A Farewell to Arms” (which De Sica received a “Best Actor in a Supporting Role” Academy Award nomination), his 1963 film “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” (Ieri, oggi, domani) would win an Academy Award in 1965 for “Best Foreign Language Film”.

And although a comedy film, “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” would showcase the poor of Italy but also those who flourished during the post-economic boom but do it with comedy and sexuality by collaborating again with actress Sophia Loren (“Two Women”, “Boccasio ’70”, “Marriage Italian Style”) and actor Marcello Mastroianni (“Divorce Italian Style”, “La Notte”, “La Dolce Vita”, “8 1/2”).

To celebrate the working relationship with filmmaker Vittorio De Sica, Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni, Kino Lorber have released three Blu-ray titles and a special four-disc DVD set featuring “Yesterday Today, Tomorrow”, “Marriage Italian Style” and “Sunflower”) as part of “The Sophia Loren Award Collection”.

With the release of “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” on Blu-ray, not only is the film included but also the feature-length documentary “Vittorio D.” about the life and career of Vittorio De Sica.

With “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”, the comedy anthology film features three different storylines.

The first is about a woman named Adelina (played by Sophia Loren).  She and her husband Carmine (played by Marcello Mastroianni) live in Naples and are barely surviving.  He is unemployed and they both have a child and to make money, Adelina must sell black market cigarettes (with many other ladies doing the same).

If you get caught, you have to pay a fine and for Adelina she has been caught so many times that she has to pay a significant fine.  So, when the collector comes to repossess the family’s furniture, the neighborhood fools the collector by hiding their furniture but when a lawyer hears and sees what they have done, he tells that no matter what they do, she will still have to pay the fine or go to jail.

Worried about what the lawyer said, a pregnant Adelina and her husband visit the lawyer for some advice and all the lawyer can tell them is that if she’s pregnant, she can’t go to jail, especially six months after a pregnancy (with a doctor’s notice as proof).

Happy about what they hear, to prevent Adelina from going to jail, both she and Carmine continue having babies.  Each time the police come to check on her, they find out that Adelina is pregnant.

But with more and more children, Carmine is starting to become exhausted and Adelina doesn’t know what to do.  But when Carmine’s friend Pasquale (played by Aldo Giuffre) is willing to get Adelina pregnant, she must decide…get pregnant again or go to jail.  What will she do?

In the second short story, Anna (played by Sophia Loren) is a wealthy wife of a industrialist.  But she also has a secretive affair with Renzo (play Marcello Mastroianni) and both are in Milan and can’t wait to get together and have sex.  So, she lets Renzo drive her expensive Rolls Royce but when Renzo gets into an accident while trying to avoid a boy in the road, Anna seems more concerned for her Rolls Royce and could care less of what may have happened to the boy.  This makes Renzo rethink his time with Anna.

In the third and final story, the story takes place in Rome and Augusto (played by Mastroianni) is in town on business from Bologna and visits his favorite prostitute Mara (played by Loren).   Augusto can’t wait to have sex with Mara and leaves to meet a client and looks forward to his time with Mara when he is done.

But when Mara goes outside of her apartment, she notices a young priest named Umberto starring at her (while she’s only wearing a towel around her).  Umberto is staying with his grandmother and is studying priesthood but not yet ordained but he falls head over heels with Mara and wants to be with her.

Mara starts to learn how much Umberto has fallen for her but immediately, his grandmother is upset that Mara is trying to seduce her grandson and calls her bad names which leads to an argument between Mara and the grandmother.

When Augusto returns from his meeting and is ready to have sex, Mara is angered by her argument with her elderly neighbor and now, Augusto is unable to have sex and now upset.

But suddenly Umberto’s grandmother comes to visit Mara in tears and that because of the argument, now Umberto is wanting to stop studying for priesthood and wants to be with Mara.  So, now she hopes that Mara can convince him to become a priest and that pursuing her is not a good idea.  Can Mara do it?

In the feature-length documentary “Vittorio D.” directed by Mario Canale and Annarosa Morri, this documentary features interviews with close friends and celebrities who have worked with Vittorio De Sica who discuss their feelings about Vittorio, his workand legacy.  Featuring interviews with Woody Allen, Clint Eastwood, Mike Leigh and many more!

VIDEO:

“Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:35:1).  First of all, it’s important to note that while Kino has released several Blu-rays (many which are silent films), one should not expect a complete overhaul in terms of picture quality.

For “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”, its important to note that the film is shot in Techniscope 2-perf, which means that for production back in 1963, the film crew went for economical means than high quality.  So, expect to see a good amount of grain and colors that looks soft and not too pristine.  Also, Kino doesn’t go all out in trying to clean up the video of white specks or other problems in the film like the Criterion Collection or Masters of Cinema but for the most part, they do make sure that films meet a certain level before releasing it on Blu-ray.

With that being said, this is the best version of “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” to date!  There was an issue of green colors or an aged look in previous video releases and for this Kino Lorber release, colors are much more vibrant and black levels are very good.   While the first and third story for me were the best in picture quality, still…early ’60s Italy looks very good on Blu-ray!  And yes, Sophia Loren also looks fantastic as well!

As for “Vittorio D.”, as mentioned, Kino has high standards of what films will be released on Blu-ray and documentaries typically are given the DVD treatment.  Instead of adding the DVD with the Blu-ray release, Kino chose to give more space to the film, while putting the documentary in an included DVD disc.  Picture quality for this documentary is good but a reminder that footage comes from various sources throughout Vittorio De Sica’s life, so video quality varies.  But for the most part, picture quality on DVD for the documentary is good.

AUDIO:

“Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” is presented in Italian Dolby TrueHD 1.0.  The lossless monaural track is still clear in dialogue.  From Mara singing in third story to the dialogue, everything comes quite clear through the center channel.  Granted, I did choose to watch the entire film in stereo on all channels for a more immersive soundscape.

I didn’t notice any hissing, pops or crackle and for the most part, soundtrack is what I was expecting from the lossless monaural soundtrack.

As for “Vittorio D.”, audio is good on the DVD is good and dialogue for the documentary is clear.

Optional English subtitles are included.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

On both the Blu-ray and the DVD are trailers for “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”, “Marriage Italian Style” and “Sunflower”.  Also, included are stills for the film.  Of course, the most significant extra in this Blu-ray release is the inclusion of the “Vittorio D” documentary.   I personally would have bought this documentary alone but the fact that it’s included in this release is fantastic!

EXTRAS:

“Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” comes with a slipcase.


I am a big fan of Vittorio De Sica’s films and while many who are previously familiar with his neorealist films may be craving for another serious film about postwar Italy, with “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”, De Sica does explore socioeconomic issues but does so in the form of a comedy anthology.

There is no doubt in my mind that when people came out to see this film, the fact that Sophia Loren was the most talked about thing about the entire film tells you what to expect.  The curvaceous Sophia Loren wearing next to nothing is no doubt going to be quite titillating to men and the fact that even today, Sophia Loren’s kinky dance during her Mara storyline continues to be a source of inspiration, especially how it was recreated in Robert Altman’s “Ready to Wear” film.

And while the film did win an Academy Award back in 1964 for “Best Foreign Language Film”, many may be wondering if this is cinema kitsch or cinema worth owning because of Vittorio De Sica’s name is behind it.

First, I will say that I’m quite happy that the film is an anthology and has three separate stories.  I don’t know if I could have watched a feature length on either story as the first is an interesting take on a family’s way to prevent jail time for the family matriarch.   The answer is to keep getting pregnant and while it seems so farfetched, having friends who have had many children (all girls) in order to get a boy, I can see people of a lower socioeconomic class doing the same.  But a storyline is much more comedy than drama and seeing Naples of a long ago, may interest many, but I have no doubt in my mind, many who tuned in for Sophia Loren will be happy.

The second story takes on the socioeconomic boom of Italy.  The short story takes place in Milan and features a very wealthy Anna in her Rolls Royce and yes, she is a brat when it comes to her possessions.  The fact that she cares more about her car and would rather have the man she is having an affair with hit the boy instead of getting an accident, kind of puts a bad taste in your mouth of Anna’s character but then again, the story plays on the storyline of wealthy people who don’t have a heart.

This second story is the weakest but it is the shortest of the three.

The final third story is perhaps my favorite.  Sophia Loren just dazzles the screen as the prostitute Mara and Marcello Mastroianni does a fantastic job of playing the horny Augusto.  No punches are pulled as we can definitely see how badly Augusto wants to get laid and how much of a tease that Sophia Loren can play onscreen.  But the fact that she is barely wearing anything in this short is possibly won many fans back then and it will do so today.  The kinky dance strip routine by Loren is unforgettable and overall, both Loren and Mastroianni did a wonderful job.

In the end, “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” does not have the drama and the heartwrenching scenes of any of De Sica’s neorealist films but that is fine!  De Sica is known for taking on a variety of genres and while some of his comedies were OK, this one is a bit more accessible because its an anthology and sex is the driving force for this film and no doubt, it titillated many men back then and for those who never experienced a Sophia Loren film that showcases her beauty and sexual attraction, this film is the one you want to watch.

For the most part, Vittorio De Sica did a great job in directing the film and getting the best out of his two major talents.  But while I do feel that Hiroshi Teshigahara’s “Woman in the Dunes” or even Jacques Demy’s “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” were a better film for me compared to “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”, there’s no denying that this film is charming and fun!

And for this Blu-ray release, the fact that Kino Lorber included the magnificent “Vittorio D.” feature-length documentary is fantastic!  As mentioned, I would have bought this documentary on its own but the fact that it does come with this Blu-ray release is wonderful!

Overall, “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” on Blu-ray features one of Sophia Loren’s shining moments in film but bundled with the Vittorio De Sica documentary, easily elevates this Blu-ray release as a must-buy for Vittorio De Sica fans!

Highly recommended!

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