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The Scientific Cardplayer

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Directed by Luigi Comencini and released in 1972, The Scientific Cardplayer (also known as Lo Scopone Scientifico) is a unique blending of drama, comedy, and elements of satirical social commentary. This Italian masterpiece stars Alberto Sordi, Silvana Mangano, and Hollywood legend, Joseph Cotten. The story delves into the world of cards, money, sharp socio-economic disparities, and the eccentricities of human nature, mirroring the everyday behavior of the characters in the world of the film.

At the center of The Scientific Cardplayer narrative, there's a wealthy and somewhat odd American widow, portrayed skillfully by Bette Davis. This eccentric millionaire has an unusual passion and annual ritual: she plays a card game called 'Scopone' - akin to 'Scopone Scientifico,' which is similar to Hearts or Spades - with the same Roman couple every year while she visits Italy.

This unsuspecting couple, Peppino (Alberto Sordi) and Antonia (Silvana Mangano), from impoverished backgrounds are the antithesis of the wealthy widow. Living in a dilapidated Roman slum, they manage to make ends meet as baker and janitor, respectively. They're commonly seen eagerly awaiting the visit of the wealthy woman, hoping to change their circumstances with a single winning game. Though they have lost countless games over the years, they remain hopeful, a testament to human resilience and optimism in the face of despair and adversity.

Joseph Cotten, in the role of the millionaire's dutiful and punctilious business manager Mr. Burns, brings depth and nuance to this intriguing social setup. He dutifully arranges the sessions, making sure his employer's peculiar whims are catered to, often at the expense of emotional turmoil inflicted on the less fortunate couple. The dynamic between the four characters is deeply captivating, eliciting both laughter and introspection.

Comencini, known for his dissecting eye towards societal norms, allows for a scathing critique of wealth disparity without losing touch with the human elements of his narrative. The Scientific Cardplayer can be seen as an allegory of how the elite view poverty as entertainment, while simultaneously showcasing how the underprivileged often play by the rules of a rigged game in the hope of one day coming out on top. The card game extends beyond a recreational activity, transforming into a metaphor for social and economic dynamics.

Moreover, beyond the high stake games and societal observations, the film also explores the vibrant and robust personalities of the people inhabiting the slums. The relationship dynamics within Peppino and Antonia's family, along with the colorful, if not desperate slew of neighbors that punctuate the narrative build a rich tapestry of human experience that will resonate with audiences of every generation.

The Scientific Cardplayer manages to explore themes of wealth disparity, the psychology of the rich and poor, while simultaneously delivering moments of comedic relief. Add to that the memorable performances from an experienced and talented cast, and you have a film that transcends its time, offering a unique viewing experience that leaves its audience pondering long after the credits roll.

Silvana Mangano, with her impassioned portrayal of Antonia, breathes life and vibrancy into the character, making her easily relatable to audiences. Alberto Sordi, offers a brilliant performance, reflecting the frustrations and hopes of lower-income individuals, while Joseph Cotten is engaging as the dutiful secretary to the eccentric millionaire played by Bette Davis, who, even in a role that defies her traditional appearances, delivers a power-packed performance.

In conclusion, The Scientific Cardplayer is an engaging exploration of social contrasts wrapped in the metaphor of a game of cards. It's a compelling socio-drama with an immersive narrative, exceptional performances, and a resonating theme. The movie is a must-watch for those seeking films that entertain, provoke thought, and retain a timeless relevance.

The Scientific Cardplayer is a Drama, Comedy movie released in 1972. It has a runtime of . Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 7.6..

DVD cover The Scientific Cardplayer is the English language title of a 1972 Italian drama film directed by Luigi Comencini. The screenplay was written by Rodolfo Sonego. Contents 1 Synopsis 2 Production notes 3 Principal cast 4 Principal prod
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