Jules Dassin, blacklisted during the McCarthy era, directs this routine, ostensibly romantic tale that really courts an underlying theme of the misuse of power. Based on a popular French novel and set in a small Mediterranean town, the story involves a small group of men and the woman several of them desire. The men gather around in the local tavern each evening to play a rather vicious game called "The Law." One man is chosen to dictate to the others, and they have to do what he says, no matter how humiliating. Marietta (Gina Lollobrigida) is the gorgeous servant of Don Cesare (Pierre Brasseur), desired by Francesco, the son of a crime boss (Yves Montand), and by her brother-in-law. She herself has fallen in love with Enrico (Marcello Mastroianni), a poor engineer. Determined to get a dowry and thereby be able to marry Enrico, Marietta turns the tables on the men who play "The Law." ~ Eleanor Mannikka, Rovi
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This film feels very dated in its attitudes to male/female relationships but Gina Lollobrigida and Melina Mercouri look so fantastic I didn't much care. It was also nice to see Marcello Mastroianni at the height of his leading man days. Not a great film but interesting enough to watch. At some points it felt like a stage play adapted for film with the awkwardness that often causes in terms of claustrophobic set design.