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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Alina
Alina
Koch Vision // Unrated // August 10, 2004
List Price: $9.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by DVD Savant | posted August 5, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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Reviewed by Glenn Erickson




This budget-level release of a scarce early-career Gina Lollobrigida film is a poor transfer
of a cut and English-dubbed print of the movie, or, more likely, a VHS or 3/4 video transfer of
a battered duplicate of the movie. As the film isn't available in a better version, it's still
a chance to see the Italian actress before she became a top international sex symbol of the
fifties.




Synopsis:




The Italo-French mountain border harbors poor Italian smugglers who use the
French casino of Lucien (Juan de Landa) as a rendezvous point. Lucien has overextended himself
and pushes the smugglers to take greater risks, including Marco (Otello Toso), who lusts after
his helper Alina (Gina Lollobrigida). She's only in the trade to help her sick huband (Lauro
Gazzo), and resents Marco's attentions. At the casino, Alina is treated well by Lucien's manager
Giovanni (Amadeo Nazzari), an expatriate who'd like to return to his beloved Italy. Giovanni is
caught in an unfortunate romantic bind of his own, with Marie (Doris Dowling), Lucien's embittered
wife and the casino's singer.




Well, the story certainly can't be called pretentious. Alina's tale of the poor innocent
child-bride who is taken
advantage of while trying to help her poor husband is pure melodrama, complete with noble
heroes, scheming villains and a fateful escape across snowy mountains. The nylons and cigarettes
are an excuse to allow the overeager Marco to manhandle helpless Alina and rough up her sickly old
husband. The husband is the caretaker, old-family-friend kind that has possibly never slept with
our heroine. She in turn is charmed by the honest Giovanni, who pines for home as any good Italian
boy should, even though home is a stone's throw away across a hillside.




Amadeo Nazzari is the soul of the Italian matinee idol, and familiar to us from Fellini's
Nights of Cabiria where he basically plays himself, a bored matinee idol. He's also been
in Edgar Ulmer's Journey Beneath the Desert and Henri Verneuil's The Sicilian Clan.




Gina Lollobrigida's sexy image must have come after this film, as here she plays a completely
virtuous city girl persecuted by her townspeople when they suspect her of abandoning her husband. It's
actually Lollobrigida's twelfth film. She does get to wear one ballroom gown for a short scene in
which two French lotharios (dubbed to sound like Heckle & Jekyll) urge her to drink more champagne. Gina
has compelling eyes but the poor dubbing does her no favors. It may be the contrasty nature
of this copy of the film, but in many scenes she resembles Susan Hayward,
looking smaller than she does in her later va-voom years.




The only other actor standing out is Doris Dowling, the sister of Constance Dowling (of Black
Angel

and GOG). Both went to Italy to work in the late 40s. Doris had been singled out
for a prominent role in The Lost Weekend and made an equally strong impression alongside
Silvana Mangano in her star-making vehicle, Bitter Rice. She also was Bianca for Orson
Welles in his Othello before returning to the states. Dowling's Marie is convincingly
jealous of Alina, and spitefully brings the police down on the casino.




The IMDB might be wrong, but as much as sixteen minutes could be missing from this print. That
might explain why we never find out what happens to Doris Dowling after her husband Juan de Landa
catches her calling the cops. What else is missing isn't clear, but with the respectful modesty
shown the Alina character we can feel sure that there aren't missing sex scenes or anything racier
than the one moment where Giovanni douses Alina with a pitcher of water.







Koch Vision's DVD of Alina is of 'research' quality, by which I mean it's something to see
when nothing else is available. The quality is poor VHS, and there are even a few tape rolls here
and there. There is no cameraman in the truncated English credits, but the IMDB ID's him as the famous
Tonino Delli Colli, later the master of the Leone spaghetti westerns. You'd never know from the
quality of this print.




The sound is murky but the dubbed dialogue is clear even if it rarely fits the
mouths of the actors. The score is so overemphatic, it might have been part of a whole
new cheapo soundtrack done for the film's American release, if it ever got one.




There are no extras. The handsome artwork on the box uses mostly later oo-la-la views of Ms.
Lollapalooza in a slip, next to more restrained frame blowups from the film itself.







On a scale of Excellent, Good, Fair, and Poor,
Alina rates:

Movie: Good ?

Video: Poor

Sound: Fair

Supplements: none

Packaging: Keep case

Reviewed: August 3, 2004












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