Wild Is the Wind (1957)

Wild Is the Windwild-is-the-wind-movie-poster-1957-1020673531
Directed by George Cukor
Written by Arnold Schulman from a novel by Vittorio Nino Novarese
1957/USA
Wallis-Hazen
First viewing/Amazon Prime

I don’t weep or anything, but there’s always some part of me left bloody on the scene I’ve just directed. — George Cukor

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.

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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.

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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”).

Magnani sings

2 thoughts on “Wild Is the Wind (1957)

  1. I find the film compelling as a social document. The gender and immigrant issues are interesting, even if the wild horse is too obvious a symbol. Magnani is great. I just wish Hollywood norms and the Code didn’t make Gioia come back to Gino.

    • Of course the ending has Hayes Code written all over it, but somehow it didn’t bother me too much. I liked the theme of repentance and forgiveness. I’m glad I stuck out 1957 long enough to get to this.

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