The Beach | Chicago Reader

The Beach

Eroticism is a preoccupying theme of Italian director Alberto Lattuada (though not always: cf Mafioso), and this slight 1954 comedy typifies his attraction to pneumatic sensuality and abundance. A prostitute (Martine Carol) takes her young daughter on a seaside holiday, but can't conceal her profession from the vacationing bourgeoisie. A few nods to neorealism in the open-air styling (Lattuada was part of the movement in the 40s), but the formal sensibility seems closer to Minnelli (or, in the inflatable penguin scene, to Sirk), and the slick visual surfaces, with their expressive 50s color and kitschy, travel-ad glamour, are enough to awaken memories of Holiday magazine. With Raf Vallone.

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