This film is considered by Adriano Apra to be one of the best ever directed by the prolific author/director/TV personality/wine enthusiast Mario Soldati: by all accounts, its elaborate mise-en-scene reaches an aesthetic pinnacle in the “calligraphic” style made famous in Italy by Soldati and others attempting to bring a kind of elegant formalism to the decadent melodramas of the Italian Cinema during the latter years of Fascism. Based on Antonio Fogazzaro's novel, Malombra is set in Lake Como, in a monumental villa of the Renaissance period called “La Pliniana”; the time of the action is 1880 to 1885. The dramatic knot is that of two passions in the person of a young writer: one for a sweet, innocent, provincial Hungarian girl and the other for an insane aristocratic young woman who believes in metempsychosis (she thinks she is the reincarnation of Cecilia, one of her ancestors).

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