"Divorce, Italian Style" Is Released
Divorce, Italian Style (Italian: Divorzio all'italiana) is a 1961 Italian comedy film directed by Pietro Germi, written by Ennio De Concini, Pietro Germi, Alfredo Giannetti and Agenore Incrocci, and starring Marcello Mastroianni, Daniela Rocca, Stefania Sandrelli, Lando Buzzanca and Leopoldo Trieste. It is a satire, telling the story of a Sicilian nobleman who wants to remarry. Since divorce was illegal in Italy at the time, he has to try to make his current wife have an affair so that he can catch them together, murder her, and receive a light sentence for committing an honour killing.
Divorce, Italian Style won the Academy Award for Best Writing, Story and Screenplay - Written Directly for the Screen, and was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Marcello Mastroianni) and Best Director. The film was also entered into the 1962 Cannes Film Festival.
In 2008 Divorce, Italian Style was turned into an opera by Giorgio Battistelli; as Divorce à l'Italienne, it was premiered by the Opéra National de Lorraine on September 30 of that year. Tenor Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke took the role created by Mastroianni. Battistelli chose to set every female role, except for Angela, for low male voice; to that end, Bruno Praticò sang the role of Rosalia.
To fully appreciate the international box-office bonanza Divorce, Italian Style (Divorzio All'Italiana), one must remember that back in 1962, divorce was illegal in Italy. Ferdinando Cefalú(Marcello Mastroianni) would love to unload his demanding, sex-starved, monumentally unappealing wife, Rosalia (Daniela Rocca), but he can't take the legal means open to his American counterparts. Ferdinando can, however, kill off his wife and receive a light sentence...provided he catches the lady committing adultery. The trick now is to make his plate-of-potatoes spouse attractive enough so that some other man will accommodate Ferdinando by cuckolding him. Divorce, Italian Style not only cleaned up financially, but also won several international film awards, as well as an Oscar nomination for Marcello Mastroianni. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide