THE MYSTERY OF OBERWALD (IL MISTERO DI OBERWALD) (director/writer: Michelangelo Antonioni; screenwriters: Tonino Guerra /based on the play The Eagle Has Two Heads by Jean Cocteau; cinematographer: Luciano Tovoli ; editors:  AMichelangelontonioni/Francesc o Grandoni;; music:  Guido Turchi ; cast: Monica Vitti (The Queen), Paolo Bonacelli (Count of Foehn), Franco Branciaroli  (Sebastian), Luigi Diberti (Willenstein), Elisabetta Pozzi (Edith de Berg),  Amad Saha Alan (Tony); Runtime: 129; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Alessandro Von Norman; RAI Radiotelevisione Italiana; 1980-Italy/West Germany-in Italian with English subtitles)

"Too stage-bound and the dialogue is too tacky."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A made for Italian TV movie. It was done in color video before transferred to 35mm. It's a lesser movie by Michelangelo Antonioni ("The Passenger"/"La Notte"/"Blow-Up"). Antonioni adapts Jean Cocteau's 1947 silly but humorless fairy tale play The Eagle Has Two Heads to the big-screen. The movie reunites actress Monica Vitti with Antonioni, in whose film the Red Desert she starred in 17 years ago. The experimental film is technically innovative but its story is lacking, as it is too stage-bound and the dialogue is too tacky.

Set in Victorian England. Monica Vitti plays the grieving widowed queen, whose hubby was assassinated ten years ago on their wedding day. One stormy night, in the queen's dilapidated castle at Oberwald,  a young radical poet named Sebastian (Franco Branciaroli) attempts to kill the queen and free the country of tyranny, but faints. Instead of killing him, the queen is attracted to him because he resembles the late king and delivers a long monologue. When the poet awakens he chats her up and falls in love with her.

Everything about it is unrealistic and unconvincing.

REVIEWED ON 3/30/2015       GRADE: C+

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"