One of Italian cinema’s craziest melodramas
Yvonne Sanson, the heroine of the cinema of Matarazzo, in a seemingly unending spiral of ups and downs
Melodrama has never been a genre to make life easy. After the incredible success of Catene, the genre becomes a mainstay of Titanus productions. If the films of Raffaello Matarazzo explored narratives filled with obstacles, twists and cosmic strokes of bad luck, Noi peccatori takes this recipe to the extreme. Nothing is left out of this film: post-war trauma, blindness, incursions into the seedy world of nightclubs, unjustly imprisoned mothers, car accidents, paralysis… It even boasts a majestic finale in which Divine intervention breaks the chain of misfortune: before a statue of the Madonna, a triple miracle takes place, reuniting wayward lovers, giving faith back to atheists and healing paraplegics. Yvonne Sanson (whose singing was dubbed by Nilla Pizzi), the heroine who shed all those tears in the films of Matarazzo, is the perfect choice for this dizzying spiral of ups and downs. Moreover, the cynical and shrewd amongst us can also enjoy the whole thing as a parody.
Following the traumas of war, Stefano has lost faith. In Naples he falls in love with Lucia, a kind nurse whose mother has been imprisoned after being falsely accused of a crime she did not commit. In rescuing a friend from a fire, Stefano suffers a serious injury to his eyes that will require an operation. To pay for it, Lucia accepts an offer to perform in a nightclub. The now healed Stefano considers her behaviour immoral and leaves her. Lucia is then hit by a car and loses the use of her legs. Meanwhile, her mother has been exonerated and is released from prison. Stefano discovers the truth about Lucia’s sacrifice and generosity, and catches up with her during a religious procession in Pompeii where a miracle will occur.