Wild Is the Wind
Directed by George Cukor
Written by Arnold Schulman from a novel by Vittorio Nino Novarese
First viewing/Amazon Prime
Anthony Quinn fails at taming a force of nature – Anna Magnani.
Gino (Quinn) is a prosperous Reno sheep rancher. He brought a little Basque boy over from Spain in hopes that he would be a natural shepherd and he was right. He raised the boy as his son and Bene (Anthony Franciosa) is now his foreman. He has a daughter, Angela, who studies in Boston. His dearest wish is that Bene and Angie will marry.
Gino’s wife, Rosana, died when Angie was a baby. Now that his business is booming, he has decided he needs a wife. He goes to Italy and brings back Rosana’s sister Gioia (Magnani). She resembles the placid, submissive Rosana in looks but not in temperament. Gioia speaks no English and the uproar of her welcome by Gino’s extended family is overwhelming.
Gino’s idea had been to give Gioia all the things he could not afford to give to Rosana. The problem is these are not the things Gioia really wants. The biggest problem, however, is that Gino constantly compares Gioia to her sister and the active, passionate Gioia fails to measure up. He even calls Gioia Rosana constantly. Gioia is finally driven to the breaking point and into the arms of Bene. With Joseph Calleia as Gino’s elder brother.
The plot of the film has a lot in common with They Knew What They Wanted/The Most Happy Fella and I was kind of surprised to find the source material is different. The acting in this is fabulous as we should expect from the two leads. Anthony Franciosa was nominated for Best Actor for his performance in A Hatful of Rain in 1957 but he is at least as good here. There are some magnificent scenes featuring horses and sheep. I had a tear in my eye at the end. Recommended.
Wild is the Wind received Academy Award nominations for Best Actor (Quinn); Best Actress (Magnani) and Best Music, Original Song (“Wild Is the Wind”).