When first getting into classic films, particularly as an American, you tend to stick with what you know: romantic comedies, slapsticks, westerns and those glorious MGM musicals etc.
Every once and a while you’ll stumble upon a film that features a “foreigner” for lack of a better word. From Brigitte Bardot to Gina Lollobrigida and even Yves Montand, we’ve all seen them costar alongside our favorite American stars, but there’s most certainly one actress that stands out from the rest.
Standing at 5’9″, blessed with sunkissed skin and with a personality as charming as a coffee date at 6 PM on a rainy day, Sophia Loren (whether you like it or not) is everyone’s classic Hollywood crush.
In no other movie is this best exemplified than in 1963’s Leri Oggi Domani, otherwise known in English as Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.
A rather experimental three-part comedy, directed by none other than Vittorio de Sica, himself, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow is a hidden classic film that most people aren’t too aware of.
Staring the Italian duo of Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren, the movie tells three stories of various couples in several situations.
Starting with ‘Adelina of Naples’ progressing into ‘Anna of Milan’, then finally ending with ‘Mara of Rome’, as the movie continues you get a different feel for each couple and how the city they’re located in effects their relationship.
In Naples, we have Adelina.
Set against the backdrop of cobbled streets, beautiful architecture and relative poverty, Adelina helps out her struggling family and husband by selling black market cigarettes.
The entire sequence is quite hilarious, honestly. At one point she keeps forcing Mastroianni‘s character (her husband) to get her pregnant so she doesn’t have to go to jail for transgressions. Poor guy gets so exhausted he has to quit his job, it’s a very funny situation and a fantastic start to the picture.
The second story is fairly interesting, it tells the tale about a wealthy Milanista and her lover Renzo. They take a drive out into the countryside where they discuss a myriad of things, including their relationship, her marriage, and the Rolls- Royce they traveled in.
The woman, Anna, gets tired of Renzo not succumbing to every one of her whims, so he tells her off, which, understandably, upsets her a great deal.
She has two options in front of her: continue her wealthy lifestyle with her husband, or proceed with the affair she’s been having with Renzo.
The rest of the story sees he contemplate these choices as Renzo also reassess his life choices.
The third and final story is, perhaps, the one that most classic film lovers are familiar with.
Mara is a prostitute who lives in a tiny one bedroom apartment on the outskirts of Rome. She has a proclivity to sleep with high profile clients, that’s how she met Augusto, a son of a wealthy Bologna industrialist.
To be quite honest with you, this is probably my favorite story out of all three of them, and I don’t want to particularly spoil it. That being said, the rest of it plays out very unexpectedly and if you ever get the chance to watch this, I can guarantee you’ll be just as shocked as I was.
In the end, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow is a film ahead of its time. With de Sica‘s gorgeous shots of Italy, incredible acting by Mastroianni and Loren, and a coherent plot to keep the audience involved for hours, ‘YTandT‘ is a picture that deserves more praise that it has received.