Friday, May 29, 2015
King of Italian melodrama Raffaello Matarazzo merges elements of luridness and coincidence with the earthier style of the neorealists in one of his signature films. Continuing the fraught narrative that began in his earlier Nobody’s Children, Guido (Amadeo Nazzari) is now reeling from the loss of his son—a tragedy that has sent the boy’s mother, Luisa (Yvonne Sanson), into a convent. Spotting Luisa’s doppelgänger, Lina (also portrayed by Sanson), affords him the chance to right past wrongs—or repeat the same mistakes. Featuring storms at sea and a stint in a women’s prison, The White Angel is one part Sirk and one part Vertigo, with sensational aspects offset by Matarazzo’s attention to character psychology and fine performances (especially by Nazzari, known for playing the movie star who picks up Giulietta Masina in Nights of Cabiria).