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Tragic Night (1942)

Tragica notte (original title)
Released from jail, Nanni punches prison guard Stefano who has denounced him. In order to take revenge, Stefano suggests the suspicion that, during his absence, his wife has had business ... See full summary »


Mario Soldati


Delfino Cinelli (novel), Mario Bonfantini (screenplay) (as M. Bonfantini) | 5 more credits »


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Cast overview:
Doris Duranti ... Armida (as Dori Duranti)
Carlo Ninchi ... Stefano
Andrea Checchi ... Nanni
Juan de Landa ... Faille
Amelia Chellini ... Zelinda, la madre di Armida
Adriano Rimoldi ... Il conte Paolo Martorelli


Released from jail, Nanni punches prison guard Stefano who has denounced him. In order to take revenge, Stefano suggests the suspicion that, during his absence, his wife has had business with the Count Paolo. A few days later, at night, a deadly ambush will be prepared. Based on the novel The Trap (1928) by Toscan Delfino Cinelli.

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Release Date:

20 March 1942 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Tragic Night See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Scalera Film See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

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User Reviews

Powerful Italian drama of love, hatred, and revenge
9 December 2019 | by robert-temple-1See all my reviews

This remarkable, and entirely forgotten, film TRAGICA NOTTE (TRAGIC NIGHT) was released in 1942 during the War. It is set in the years 1922-4 and is based upon a novel by Delfino Cinelli. It was filmed on location in a wild part of the Tuscan hills and in Florence. It is truly astonishing for anyone familiar with Florence to see what it looked like in 1941. Many of the scenes are along the streets which run beside the River Arno. Apart from the car of Count Paolo, a character in the story, there are no other cars to be seen, and there are no people in the streets either. Florence is seen as a large 'country market town' for the locals only and not a tourist to be seen. Of course, it was wartime, but Florence without a sea of tourists, a state of affairs which seems like an unimaginable dream today, is here to be seen with our very own eyes. Even more extraordinary are the scenes in the Tuscan hills and the hill town situated there, which is not named. The roads outside that town are all dirt roads, people go around on horseback and the men all carry shotguns slung over their shoulders nonchalantly as they stroll through the town, go in and out of shops, and play cards and drink in the local bar. There are also lengthy and fascinating shots of the threshing process on the farms. So this film portrays a very ethnic and primitive Tuscany where blood feuds are entirely normal, and passions run high. Central to the story is a young woman named Arminida, called for short Armida, who is played by Doris Duranti (credited here as Dori Duranti). She is a typical 'Italian good girl' who falls crazily in love, and then alas falls crazily in love a second time. (I did say passions run high, didn't I?) Duranti plays this role with great restraint, using her eyes to convey what she is feeling, and is thoroughly convincing in the role. The whole film is really very restrained and the only over-acting is the intentionally comedic part of Duranti's mother, played hilariously by Amelia Chellini as a caricature of a bossy 'Italian mama' who cannot stop blathering, criticising, and hurling insults around like confetti. This bit of light relief in a very intense tale must have delighted the Italian audiences, the men recognising their own mothers-in-law and guffawing, and the women giggling into their handkerchiefs somewhat nervously. The film begins with a group of four men with shotguns and bandanas luring the gamekeeper Stefano into an ambush, jumping him and beating him unconscious. Stefano had come riding furiously along a high ridge, silhouetted against the sky, his shotgun around his shoulder, and this dramatic opener certainly shows us an expert horseman navigating dangerous terrain at tremendous speed, which pretty well sets the atmosphere for the whole story, which is one of unremitting intensity. The man who organised the beating of Stefano and nearly thrashed him to death is the character Nanni. He had a grievance against Stefano and in the normal way of hill people let his fury be known with his fists. (Why speak when you can smash?) Stefano therefore harbours a deep grudge after this, which he cannily conceals for two years until he can get his revenge. He concocts a highly complex web of deceit to lure Nanni into a trap where he can safely kill him. (The Tuscan hills in the old days was clearly no place for half measures.) The scheme centres round the coincidence that Nanni's wife Armida had encountered the local magnate Count Paolo (whose gamekeeper Stefano is) while in Florence, fallen for him while her husband was in prison, and although there had been no intimacy between them, Stefano convinces Nanni that there was. Nanni and Paolo had been best friends as children, thus heightening the drama. The genie of Othello having been let out of the bottle, events hurtle towards an uncertain climax. Who will kill whom first? This is high drama for sure, as we are dealing with uncompromising characters who do not know what it means to 'draw a line', much less to 'move on'. As the pressure builds, we leave them, since I must not under any circumstances reveal how this ends. The film with English subtitles may be obtained from Movie Detective, and apparently from nowhere else.

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