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» » La stanza del vescovo (1977)

Short summary

Mario (Tognazzi), a rich and eccentric war hero befriends Marco (Dewaere), a loner with a sailboat and takes him home to meet his estranged wife Cleofe (Lia Tanzi Gabriella) and sexually repressed sister in law Matilde (Muti). Mario confesses his love for Matilde and so ensues a love triangle.

Italian censorship visa # 70003 delivered on 16-3-1977.

User reviews


  • comment
    • Author: Zut
    This Dino Risi film is a classic, which apparently went over the heads of my fellow IMDb commenters. They have apparently lost touch with the fever dreams of cinema, the world of Cocteau and all the other European masters, the flights of imagination that made us buffs in the first place. I read here with wonder about a film that could not decide on its genre -it wasn't a neat, spoon-fed package designed to pull the viewer's strings on cue. You know: John Avildsen meets Stallone, for that first crucial bout. No wonder Lina Wertmuller, the supreme filmmaker of the '70s, is virtually forgotten, well -at least no longer appreciated today.

    I will leave the My Weekly Reader world of writing synopses to others: IMDb seems intent on creating a legion of retards scribbling 1000s of idiotic play-by-play capsules, or strings of nonsensical "Keywords" -watch the damn movie yourself! This film adaptation of Piero Chiara's novel set in 1946 on Italy's coast with Switzerland is carefully tailored as a vehicle for its iconic trio of stars, all performing in a quasi-deadpan fashion that weaves a subtle charm. Ugo (who starred memorably in another Chiara adaptation Come Have Coffee With Us) is perfect as the ne'er-do-well, Abyssinian war vet who attaches himself like a barnacle to our previously freewheeling protagonist (a device familiar in later films like Bill Murray in What About Bob?); Patrick Dewaere, a vagabond, former conscientious objector during WW II, is the audience surrogate with a girl in every port, conjuring up a pure naif right out of Orson Welles' Isak Dinesen film The Immortal Story. Completing the topline is of course Ornella Muti -the face that still is the most breathtaking in modern Cinema, on a par with the Garbos, Oberons and Hepburns (both) from the classic age. Her pivotal character is underwritten, but I believe that is on purpose, as it adds to the mystery and fable-like quality of the piece.

    What's wrong with a film daring to challenge the viewer, scene by scene, to determine for oneself the level of seriousness implied? The best movies are ones that have enough degrees of freedom, not only for the characters but for the audience as well, to be open-ended and open to INDIVIDUAL reactions. Stop making All-Time lists and complaining about which film is in or out of IMDb's Top 250 -think for yourself people! Manipulating the mood is not Dino's forte -rather he concentrates here on creating a mismatched male combo worthy of his classic '60s work: The Easy Life and a film I always give him credit for (though he apparently was only a helper), The Success, with Ugo giving Gassman a run for his money and Dewaere a perfect correlative to Trintignant.

    I saw The Bishop's Bedroom in an English-dubbed version, and the performances were universally strong enough to surmount that technical drawback. Armando Trovaioli's score is just right, even including what I can only describe as Ornella's "masturbation leitmotif" - a charming and evocative little recurring theme. The genius Franco Di Giacomo, who has done classic work for Argento and Bertolucci, captures the Lake Maggiore locations beautifully and timelessly -it should be noted that he shot Muti's wonderful debut film in 1970.

    The point here is that Italy was cranking out great films like this one ROUTINELY in the '70s: the works of prolific helmers like Bolognini, Scola, Monicelli plus many young Turks; it all came to a crashing halt circa 1983 when the local actors' union won a victory at long last mandating direct sound dialogue recording for cinema. This overdue update of technique singlehandedly killed Italian creativity just as surely as CGI has killed the wonder of Harryhausen stop-motion animation in Hollywood of late -all in the name of "progress". Sure, Nicchetti, Troisi, Amelio, Moretti and later Salvatores and Tornatore brought a bit of New Wave to the Boot but the factory system with its glittering stars was dead. Laura Morante can only make so many movies before she needs a rest! The final irony is that Italy's Gower Gulch equivalents, aka Joe D'Amato and a dozen Z-directors of the Quentin Tarantino slumming brigade, have their junk lovingly adored by today's so-called film buffs who ignore the true maestros.

    While watching The Bishop's Bedroom I wondered what Hollywood director could pull this off so effortlessly? Welles came to mind immediately, as did the greatest of all transplants Billy Wilder. His unsung Avanti was a similar classic made in the '70s, but by the time he got to Marthe Keller in Fedora the touch was gone. Perhaps a reincarnated Mitchell Leisen -my all-time favorite from the Paramount stable, could have made it work.

    I had the distinct privilege of interviewing Sophia Loren in NYC 20 years ago anent a tribute at MoMA to Vittorio De Sica. I remember asking her which filmmakers she admired the most, apart from those (De Sica & Ponti) who had shaped her career, and she immediately replied Dino Risi, citing his creativity and urbanity -in a word, class.
  • comment
    • Author: Dolid
    Dino Risi, who died last year, left a legacy of films in his native Italy that is probably hard to match. One of our favorites was "Profumo di donna" that was later remade into a Hollywood vehicle for Al Pacino and won him the Oscar. "La stanza del vescovo" was unknown to us, so we saw it for two reasons, Dino Risi and Ugo Tognazzi. That said, the film proved not to live up to our expectations, although it was fun to watch it while it was on.

    The basic problem with the film is that it never makes up its mind in whether it wants to be a comedy, a mystery, or a serious drama. At the center of the story is Temistocle Mario Orimbelli, a man who married a wealthy woman and is living in her magnificent villa overlooking Lago Maggiore. Mario happens to see a younger man, Marco Maffei, one evening trying to get groceries for his dinner at a store that has just closed for the day. Mario decides to invite the stranger home, but in order to reach the place, they take Maffei's boat because it has a mooring facility.

    Little prepares the younger man for the opulence he is about to see inside the house where Mario's wife, Cleofe, and her future sister-in-law, Matilde, live strange lives. Matilde is a gorgeous creature who is to be married to Cleofe's brother, missing in action in Ethiopia during Italy's war in the 1930s. Cleofe is a society woman that has married below her class, or so it appears.

    Things turn for the worst after Mario reveals his love for Matilde. Maffei is taken aback by the admission since he has coveted the young woman and believes she is attracted to him. When Cleofe appears dead all suspicions fall on Mario, who has a strong alibi. In the end, when all is said and done, it comes as a complete surprise the fortunes that befall Matilde, making this viewer think she had been more involved than what we gave her credit for.

    Ugo Tognazzi makes a good contribution to the film. It isn't his fault the screenplay doesn't make sense at times, but he is, as usual, effective in delivering what was expected of him. Patrick Dewaere, whose life was cut short before his prime, plays Maffei in a fog. Ornella Muti makes a beautiful Matilde. Gabriella Giacobbe has some good moments as Cleofe.

    See the film as a rarity and don't expect much, maybe then, will the viewer be surprised. The scenery around the Lago Maggiore is impressive.
  • comment
    • Author: Zulkigis
    Messy and slightly disturbing film that juggles the ingredients of a drama, a sex comedy and a murder mystery. Orimbelli (Ugo Tognazzi), a rich and eccentric war hero befriends Maffei (Patrick Dewaere), a loner with a sailboat and takes him home to meet his estranged wife Cleofe (Lia Tanzi Gabriella) and sexually repressed sister in law Matilde (Ornella Muti).

    Maffei has trouble sleeping in the Bishops bedroom. Instead of finding out where the film gets it's title from, he prefers peeping at Ornella Muti instead. Both the mystery and the unhappy maiden are forgotten when Ugo and Patrick go out sailing and pick up some floozies for a wild weekend. After this rather explicit and totally unnecessary episode Orimbelli confesses his love for Matilde to Maffei. Forgetting the fact he is actually married to her sister, they take Matilde out on Maffei's boat. But just when this love triangle is getting interesting, they are called back home to testify in a murder case.

    The movie keeps the twists coming and throws in another couple of pointless subplot about Matilde's first husband and strange nighttime noises, but it is hard to stay interested with all these unlikable characters. Maybe the original novel by Piero Chiara made more sense of it all, but as a film it is pretty incomprehensible. Of course this is quite normal for a film starring Ornella Muti.

    4 out of 10
  • comment
    • Author: Khiceog
    Whatever story this film has, it's only an excuse for filming at Lago Maggiore, preferably in the evening to sunset and some in the moonlight or what is supposed to be moonlight. I'm probably biased in thinking so (since I spent summers in Lugano nearby, in my early youth) but to me Lake Maggiore is probably the most warmly mystical place on earth. The most mystical place otherwise is maybe Prag apart, of course, from all private mystical places that are gone in the memories of all our hearts. In this film, the mystery comes across in some scenes, which make you realize that whatever else is going on in the picture really isn't that important.
  • Complete credited cast:
    Ugo Tognazzi Ugo Tognazzi - Temistocle Mario Orimbelli
    Ornella Muti Ornella Muti - Matilde Scrosati in Berlusconi
    Patrick Dewaere Patrick Dewaere - Marco Maffei
    Lia Tanzi Lia Tanzi - Landina - fiancé of Maffei
    Gabriella Giacobbe Gabriella Giacobbe - Cleofe - wife of Orimbelli
    Katia Tchenko Katia Tchenko - Charlotte
    Karina Verlier Karina Verlier - Germaine (as Karine Verlier)
    Franco Sangermano Franco Sangermano - Mazzoleni - the Examining Magistrate
    Max Turilli Max Turilli - Angelo Berlusconi (as Marcello Turilli)
    Piero Mazzarella Piero Mazzarella - Brighenti (as Pietro Mazzarella)
    Renzo Ozzano Renzo Ozzano - Warrant Officer Gambino
    Francesca Juvara Francesca Juvara - Martina
    Giuseppe Brugnaro Giuseppe Brugnaro
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