Cronaca di un amore (Story of a Love Affair) (1950) is the debut full-length film of Michelangelo Antonioni. Lucia Bosè and Massimo Girotti starred in this film.
It is Antonioni's take on The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain. A wealthy businessman, Enrico, hires a detective agency. It seems that Enrico is starting to get curious about his drop-dead gorgeous but mysterious young wife Paola, whom he married During the War. A detective named Carloni looks into Paola's background and eventually discovers a disturbing connection between Paola, an old boyfriend of Paola's named Guido, and the death of Guido's fiancée Giovanna.
Meanwhile, Guido, who now works as a car salesman, gets word from an acquaintance that someone is investigating him. He makes contact with Paola, whom he has not seen since she married Enrico seven years ago. Soon they have rekindled their love affair. Paola, who wants out of her dull, loveless marriage but doesn't want to do anything as inconvenient as give up Enrico's fortune, comes up with an idea: the two lovers can kill her husband.
- Auto Erotica: After Paola and Guido finally reunite, they have sex in the back seat of his car.
- Bittersweet Ending: Bittersweet but still an upgrade from the Downer Ending tragedy of either the novel or the other film adaptations. Guido is spared from killing Enrico when Enrico has a fatal car accident just a couple hundred yards away from the spot where Guido was lying in wait. But even though he's not actually a murderer, Guido, who is stricken with guilt, forsakes Paola and leaves town.
- Cigarette of Anxiety: Guido nervously lights up a smoke as he lies in wait to murder Enrico on the road.
- Deus ex Machina: Or, depending on how you look at it, Diabolus ex Machina. Guido is waiting with a gun, to shoot Enrico as Enrico slows his car to make a hairpin turn—when there's a sound of a crash coming from up the road. Enrico has had a fatal car accident just a couple of hundred yards away, thus sparing Guido the murder on his conscience.
- Every Car Is a Pinto: When Guido bicycles up to the scene of the accident, Enrico's car is burning in a ditch. Enrico is lying on the ground, having apparently been thrown clear.
- Forgotten Birthday: It's a signal of how distant husband and wife are from each other that, in Paola's first scene, she has to remind Enrico that it's her birthday.
- Inspired by : Loosely inspired by The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain, but takes a lot of liberties.
- Italian Neorealism: A less typical example in that Antonioni's characters are upper-class and played by the professional characters. Still the general ambience is similar to other neotrealist movies.
- Lingerie Scene: After Paola bids 300,000 lira for a designer dress at a charity auction, the model wearing the dress simply shucks it off and gives it to her, leaving the model in nothing but bra and panties.
- Murder by Inaction: In the backstory. It's eventually revealed that both Paola and Guido realized that Guido's fiancée Giovanna was stepping into an empty elevator shaft, but did nothing to help her.
- Off-into-the-Distance Ending: Ends with the taxi driving away, taking Guido to the train station, as he's decided he can't be with Paola after all.
- Pretty in Mink: Paola's status as a pampered upper-class trophy wife is demonstrated by her wearing a fur coat seemingly ever time she goes outside.
- Private Detective: Carloni is hired by Enrico to find out about his beautiful young wife's past.
- Sleeping Single: Paola and Enrico sleep in separate rooms and seem to have a passionless marriage.
- Trophy Wife: Paola is the wife of Enrico, a wealthy industrialist. He keeps her in furs but doesn't seem to care about her that much.
- The X of Y: Both in the English version, Story of a Love Affair, and in the original name. Syntactically the formula "X di Y" is similar.