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Film / The Gold of Naples

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The Gold of Naples (L'oro di Napoli) is a 1954 film from Italy directed by Vittorio De Sica.

It is an Anthology Film consisting of six vignettes depicting life in the city of Naples, where Vittorio de Sica grew up. The stories are:

  • "Il guappo": Saverio is an otherwise cheerful clown, driven to distraction by an unwelcome guest, namely, Don Carmine the mob boss, who has lived with his family for ten years.
  • "Pizze e credito": Rosario and Sofia are a husband and wife operating a pizza stand from their front door. Young, sexy Sofia (20-year-old Sophia Loren in her invokedStar-Making Role in Italy) is cheating on her doughy, middle-aged husband with a neighbor. One day, Sofia loses her emerald ring in a pizza (or so she thinks), causing the two of them to go on a frantic search.
  • "Funeralino": Of a child, with the grieving mother and a crowd of children following the funeral carriage through the streets.
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  • "I giocatore": Count Prospero (played by Vittorio de Sica), has such a serious gambling problem that his wife has taken control of the family bankroll; the count has to be stopped from pawning a silver place setting to get gambling money. Prospero is reduced to playing cards with an 8-year-old boy to get his fix.
  • "Teresa": Teresa is a Roman prostitute who has come to Naples to marry Nicola, a rich young businessman who took a fancy to her. But after she gets married she finds out that something quite different is going on.
  • "Il professore": Ersilio is a local man who makes a living dispensing advice, for a fee, to all the working-class folks in his neighborhood. They come to him as a group asking how to deal with Duke Alfonso, an arrogant rich dude who insists on driving his car through their crowded, narrow streets, forcing the people of the neighborhood to make way.
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Tropes:

  • Anthology Film: Six stories of life in Naples.
  • Blowing a Raspberry: The advice that Ersilio the "professor" gives to the locals for the next time Duke Alfonso drives through the street. He tells them how to make a particularly rich, offensive sound.
  • Cuckold: Balding, middle-aged Rosario, cuckolded by his luscious young wife. At the end of the story Alfonso produces the emerald ring and claims he found it in a pizza. Rosario makes the mistake of blurting out that Alfonso didn't order any pizza that morning, which lets everyone in the crowd know exactly what happened.
  • Death of a Child: "Funeralino" depicts the funeral of a small boy.
  • Door Closes Ending
    • After Don Carmine finds out that he does not have advanced heart disease (it was indigestion) and is actually just fine, he comes back to Saverio's house bent on revenge. But the sight of Saverio's family cowering in fear, especially the little boy on the verge of tears, causes him to leave and shut the door behind him.
    • "Teresa" ends with the door closing to the husband's mansion, after changing her mind and accepting his humiliating but lucrative deal.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Teresa believes she is accepting a marriage proposal from a rich businessman who saw her on the street and found her attractive. She finds out that there's more to the proposal.
  • The Gambling Addict: Count Prospero has such a debilitating problem that his wife has taken total control of family finances. Prospero begs his doorman for a loan so he can gamble. He tries to smuggle out a silver table setting to pawn. Finally, he plays cards with the porter's 8-year-old son Gennarino.
  • Grave-Marking Scene: An unwilling one. Saverio is required to make ritual visits to and say prayers at the grave of Don Carmine's wife Maria.
  • Hello, Nurse!: All the men in the neighborhood like to gawk at luscious Sofia, who puts on quite the Jiggle Show as she's making pizza.
  • High-Class Glass
    • Played for comedy in "I giocatore", in which Count Prospero wears one as men of his station are supposed to, an effect undercut when he begs his butler to loan him money and eventually settles for playing cards with a child.
    • Duke Alfonso the arrogant aristocrat is a straight example, wearing his high class glass as he forces the people of the neighborhood to clear the street every time he wants to drive through.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Rosario and Sofia arrive at Peppino's house looking for a ring just minutes after Peppino's wife has died of cancer. Peppino picks up a knife and tries to stab himself but his friends stop him.
  • The Lost Lenore: Teresa is very unpleasantly surprised to find out that her husband Nicola is actually in eternal mourning for Lucia, his old lover who killed herself when he refused to marry her. He has decided to punish himself forever for her death, and entering into a Sexless Marriage to Teresa is part of that deal. She's humiliated to learn that Nicola's assistant picked her at random.
  • TheMafia: Saverio longs to be freed from the mob boss who lives in his house.
  • Mood Whiplash: The second episode, a comic farce about a cuckold and his faithless wife, is followed by the title "a child has died in Naples". "Funeralino" follows.
  • Sexless Marriage: Nicola tells Teresa directly that he'll never touch her, as he has committed himself to eternal penance for Lucia.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: Sofia chooses to wear a flimsy peasant blouse that keeps slipping off her shoulders while she's making pizza; she ignores her insecure husband when he tells her to cover up. When a delivery man in his truck parks and stares at her, Sofia preens and flirts.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: It seems that ten years ago, Saverio's wife comforted Don Carmine the widower, and invited him to stay with them. So he did, and ten years later he's still there, bossing them around.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Part of Sofia's Shameless Fanservice Girl deal. She could keep the money and change in a tin can or a cigar box or something, but no, she keeps it in the Compartment.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Sofia tells her husband that she's going to Mass, but instead she goes around the corner and has sex with Alfredo, a handsome shoe salesman. As it turns out that's where she forgot her ring.
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