Special Day, A

Director: Ettore Scola
Year Released: 1977
Rating: 2.0

Early one morning in 1938, poor and depressed Antonietta (Sophia Loren) wakes up her philandering husband and six children so they can attend a parade for the arrival of Adolf Hitler from Nazi Germany to Rome, but she can't go along because she has to "clean up" - back in the flat, her myna bird flies away and ends up on the window of her neighbor Gabriele (Marcello Mastroianni) ... who was planning on killing himself.  While I respect how it shows sympathy for two outsiders - a gay man and a lonely woman - during Mussolini's "macho days" of fascism, pity and empathy alone aren't enough to propel a motion picture forward - starting off with eight plus minutes of newsreel footage, although appropriately setting the stage, isn't exactly enthralling, either.  The dual stars do what they can to elevate the rudimentary material - Marcello doesn't mince it up like he could have and Sophia ... well, she doesn't wear make-up - and the "fight" they have on the roof might have been an embarrassment with lesser talents involved.  As for the Sawdust Caesar: he eventually got what he deserved ... Italian Style.