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The Girl with the Pistol

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

La ragazza con la pistola
Directed byMario Monicelli
Written byLuigi Magni
Rodolfo Sonego
Produced byGianni Hecht Lucari
StarringMonica Vitti
Stanley Baker
Carlo Giuffrè
Corin Redgrave
Anthony Booth
Johnny Briggs
CinematographyCarlo Di Palma
Edited byRuggero Mastroianni
Music byPeppino De Luca
Distributed byDocumento Film
Release date
  • 1968 (1968)
Running time
100 minutes

The Girl with the Pistol (Italian: La ragazza con la pistola) is a 1968 Italian comedy film directed by Mario Monicelli.[1] It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Monica Vitti won the David di Donatello for Best Actress.

The film tackled the themes of bride kidnapping and honour killing, which were still relevant in the Southern Italian culture of the time and normalized to some extent by Italian law, and had then only recently been challenged when Franca Viola publicly refused to marry the man who raped her.

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In a small village in Sicily, the young woman Assunta falls in love with Vincenzo, who serenades her under the window of the house where she lives with her sisters.

One day, Assunta is walking down the street with her sisters when two men in a car cut them off, and a passer-by warns them they are attempting bride kidnapping.

Sensing the men are sent by Vincenzo to kidnap her, Assunta throws herself into their car, but when she finally meets Vincenzo he explains that he was actually trying to kidnap her cousin Concetta. Since he refuses to marry her and flees to the United Kingdom in order to avoid arrest, Assunta has no choice but to head back to her village.

However, according to local traditions she and her sisters are now unable to marry, unless someone kills the offender and restores the honour of the family. For this reason she leaves for the UK too, having been given 11,000 lire in notes and a handgun. She is intimidated by the different culture at first, but resolutely travels to Edinburgh, Sheffield and Bath in search of Vincenzo, in order to kill him.

While attending a rugby match in Bath, Assunta spots Vincenzo in his new job as an ambulance stretcher bearer. She follows him to the nearby hospital, but accidentally interrupts an operation and faints. During her recuperation she meets another patient, Frank, understanding and sentimental, who advises her to forget about Vincenzo and devote herself to her own life. After Vincenzo simulates his own death, Assunta gets engaged to Frank. However, Dr Osborne, the physician who treated both Frank and Assunta in the hospital, feels obliged to tell her that Frank is, in fact, a homosexual. Hence she gives up the marriage, and despite agreeing to return to Italy instead starts a new life as an emancipated singleton in London.

In the meantime, Vincenzo becomes more and more disappointed with British women and is aware of the fact that he cannot return to Italy, so he manages to contact Assunta. Her first reaction is to try and kill him, but he explains his intention to marry her on condition that she gives up her freedom. Having given herself to him once again, the next day Assunta exacts revenge by abandoning Vincenzo and taking a boat to join Dr Osborne. Vincenzo, having tried to catch up with her, watches her leaving and judges her an "easy girl".

Filming locations

The early 'Sicilian' scenes were actually shot in Polignano a Mare in Apulia, not in Sicily.[2] Filming locations in Edinburgh included Waverley Station, Princes Street, Lawnmarket and Castle Terrace, while in Sheffield several scenes were shot in Granville Street and near the site of the former Neepsend railway station, as well as at the now redeveloped bus station in nearby Rotherham.[3] Other landmarks shown in the film include the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol; Royal Crescent in Bath; Holy Trinity Church in Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire; the Elephant and Castle, Royal Albert Hall, Chelsea Embankment and Lincoln's Inn Fields in London; and the Royal Pavilion and Grand Hotel in Brighton.[2] The final scene, which features Assunta escaping from Vincenzo's clutches and onto a car ferry, was filmed separately in Newhaven and Ancona.[3]


Monica Vitti as Assunta in the film


Box office

The Girl with the Pistol was wildly popular in Italy, garnering nearly $4 million in box office receipts by June 1969, and was regarded as heralding the emergence of Monica Vitti as one of the country's leading comic stars.[4] In the UK, the film was not shown in cinemas.

See also


  1. ^ "The 41st Academy Awards (1969) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 2011-11-15.
  2. ^ a b "La ragazza con la pistola (1968)" Retrieved 28 May 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Girl with a Pistol, The (aka La ragazza con la pistola)" Retrieved 28 May 2021.
  4. ^ Hank Werba, 'Monica Vitti Prefers Social Comedy Despite Tantalizing Influx of Erotica', Variety, 25 June 1969, p. 30.

External links

This page was last edited on 13 April 2024, at 09:53
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