I Fidanzati (1963)

I Fidanzati (The Fiances)
Directed by Ermanno Olmi
Written by Ermanno Olmi
22 Dicembre/Sicilia Cinematografica/Titanus
Repeat viewing/Netflix rental

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but it sure makes the rest of you lonely.” ― Charles M. Schulz

This is a charming combination of a unique kind of love story with tender travelogue of Sicily.

Milanese Giovanni has accepted an 18-month transfer to his company’s plant in Sicily.  It will mean a promotion for him and separation from his long-time fiancee Liliana.  She is now barely speaking to him.  They part on very tense terms.

In Sicily, the lonely Giovanni begins to pine for his sweetheart.  The two begin a tentative correspondence in which they both reveal the feeling that had been surpressed by over-familiarity.  Giovanni also explores the wonders of an alien way of life.

It’s a simple story, sweetly told.  I was thinking I could have used more love story but I wouldn’t have wanted to miss any of the gorgeous shots of Sicily either.

Clip – this was my favorite part!

Johnny Cool (1963)

Johnny Cool
Directed by William Asher
Written by Joseph Landon from a novel by John McPartland
Chrislaw Productions
First viewing/YouTube


Johnny Colini: In your hills you have been a glorious success, we’ll now see what you do with a mountain, America. You prove you can be the son of Colini and in a few years when I have gone, you will inherit my kingdom.

Is this the first American Cosa Nostra film?

As the movie begins, the police seem to have shot down Salvatore Giordano (Henry Silva), a Robin Hood type gangster who works in the hills of Sicily.  American mobster Johnny Colini AKA “Johnny Cool” has actually spirited Giorgano away to Rome.  In return, Johnny expects to train Giordano in the ways of America and turn him into a killing machine to do away with the men who double crossed him.

Years pass and Giordano is ready to roll.  He adopts his mentor’s moniker and cleverly and violently goes about his business.  Will bad girl Darien Guiness (Elizabeth Montgomery) be his undoing?  The film was produced by Peter Lawford and includes small parts for Rat Pack members Sammy Davis Jr. and Joey Bishop.

With a title like Johnny Cool, how could I resist!  In reality this is just OK though it was fun to see the always execellent Silva in an all too rare leading role and Elizabeth “Bewitched” Montgomery as a hussy.