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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Domani è troppo tardi (Tomorrow Is Too Late), 1950

Domani è troppo tardi (Tomorrow Is Too Late), an Italian movie from 1950. I watched it sometime in the second half of the fifties. I was in a middle school summer camp, spending two weeks of vacation, together with my classmates. The boys and girls in the movie were about our age, and the action was taking place in a summer camp, too. Their naiveté, their inquiries and tribulations were the same as ours. One of the boys in the movie was telling the others about another film he had watched sometime: a man had kissed a lady, and in the next scene the lady was with a baby in her lap. Pretty simple, it seemed. So, if we wished to have a kid, that was the thing to do, kiss one of the girls there. Well, the girls in the movie seemed more mature, and their questions were consequently more serious: could a girl get pregnant by staying on a toilet seat previously visited by someone else? Truth is that caution is always advisable. Like these boys and girls, we, too, were to discover life's secrets and lessons day by day. Like them making stupid jokes to the girls we actually were attracted by, like them naive and braggart, like them discovering the miracle of first love.

At that age we could not understand the movie beyond a very basic level. That story with middle school boys and girls was actually talking to adults. How to deal with the erotic awakening of those kids? The simplest seemed to be tough, zero tolerance. Was it the best way? And how to deal when a boy and a girl made a mistake (or a big mistake)? Condemn and exclude them? Or, by the contrary, be on their side, help them find again the balance in life? Regardless of all precepts and restrictions, the sexual development of a child is taking place anyway. They come sooner or later to the questions you don't allow, to the temptations you demonize. They are human beings, not puppets.

The movie was giving the answer, with passion and conviction: they must be prepared for life, the truth must be told, tactfully and responsibly, without delay. Tomorrow is too late.

Of course, things have changed a lot since then. Sexual emancipation has gone so far that for a hero of the 1950 movie today's Earth would seem an alien planet. The same goes for today's viewers: for them the universe of Domani è troppo tardi would definitely seem very strange.

This movie remained into my mind for so many years because of the personage created there by Vittorio De Sica. I would see him later in many movies, as I would watch many movies directed by him. Unforgettable in Il Generale Della Rovere, And among the great masterpieces of cinema, Ladri di biciclette (Bicycle Thieves).

However, this remains my most precious memory of Vittorio De Sica, his role in Domani è troppo tardi, the superb professor Landi, teaching his pupils with dignity and responsible determination about the great secrets of human nature.

I looked for a copy of the movie on the web, without success.  I found only a few excerpts, and I rediscovered a great beauty: Pier Angeli, playing with such genuineness the purity of a girl living her first love. It was the second role in her career, she was only eighteen by then. After a few years she started playing at Hollywood, where she met James Dean. It was, as the story goes, her great love. Pier Angeli died prematurely in 1971. She was 39 years old.

Domani è troppo tardi, 1950
scenes from the movie
(video by Coralie chérami)

Domani è troppo tardi, 1950
scene from the movie
(video by PierAngeliChannel)

Domani è troppo tardi, 1950
scene from the movie
(video by Marcos Pedini)

(Italian Movies)



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