Tina Pica
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Oh! Sabella

(La nonna Sabella)
Italy/France 1957. Director: Dino Risi
Cast: Tina Pica, Sylva Koscina, Renato Salvatore, Peppino De Filippo, Dolores Palumbo

Commedia all’italiana master Dino Risi directs beloved character actress Tina Pica in a rare leading role in Oh! Sabella. Pica (who also appears in Comencini’s Bread, Love and Dreams, screening June 20 and 21) plays titular Grandmother Sabella, an iron-willed octogenarian accustomed to ruling her provincial roost.  Now on her deathbed, she’s determined to see her worldly grandson Raffaele (Renato Salvatore), a student in Naples, enter into a suitable marriage with the daughter of a wealthy local landowner. Raffaele’s just as determined to marry Lucia (Sylva Koscina), the girl of his dreams, and intends to obtain Grandmother Sabella’s blessing for the match whether she’s aware of it or not. The script, adapted from his own debut novel, is by Pasquale Festa Campanile, a prolific Italian screenwriter through the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. Variety, reviewing the film from the 1957 San Sebastian festival, where it won top prize, praised Oh! Sabella as a “palatable comic pic” with “solid laughs, aided by a uniformly excellent cast.” A sequel, La nipote Sabella (“The Nephew Sabella”), appeared in 1958. B&W, 35mm, in Italian with English subtitles. 95 mins.