GHOSTS ITALIAN STYLE
On the level of its quick and snappy blunders of interpretation and plot twists, Ghosts Italian Style makes for a film that is entertaining in a limited way. Unfortunately, it asks belief in some sweeping plot holes that is not easy not the least of which is the contrived arrangement three-quarters of the way through about Sophia Loren going off to hide in mountain villages, leaving husband Vittorio Gassman to be arrested for murder.
A French-Italian co-production shot in English, Ghosts Italian Style is also beset by a stiltedness of language. The beautiful Sophia Loren always manages to grace a film, no matter whether it is an inconsequential triviality like this or the endless soap operas she was cast at the height of her popularity in the 1960s. The ending where she parodies the ethereal wafflings of ghostly portents, balancing them with an eagerness to get Mario Adorfs guilt money, is especially charming. Margaret Lee is not bad either in a largely irrelevant role as the English boarder-come-hooker. As to the menfolk, Vittorio Gassman and Mario Adorf who both play hapless, wet-eared wimps that seem identical clones, the less said the better.
The film is based on a popular play Questi Fantasmi! (1945), which translates as These Ghosts, by Italian writer Eduardo De Filippo. For the films English-language release, the play was retitled Ghosts Italian Style copying the title of the popular Marcello Mastroianni comedy Divorce Italian Style (1961). Indeed, doing so became so popular that there ended up being some 20 other films all suffixed Italian Style over the next decade. There were previous film versions of the Eduardo De Filippo play in 1954 or 1962, although little is known about these.