Preferred Citation: Brunette, Peter. Roberto Rossellini. Berkeley:  University of California Press,  c1996 1996.

35— The Age of the Medici (1972)

The Age of the Medici

The year 1972 was the annus mirabilis of the last stage of Rossellini's career, for during this year he managed to complete Pascal, Augustine of Hippo , and the three-part series entitled L'età di Cosimo de' Medici (The Age of the Medici) . This nearly four-and-one-half hour series, one of Rossellini's last major accomplishments, was originally conceived as two separate films on the fifteenth-century Florentine figures Cosimo de' Medici and Leon Battista Alberti. Putting the two biographical projects together proved to be a brilliant idea, for it is in fact this very joining—of politics and commerce with art and learning—that emerges as the principal theme of the series. The result is a superbly detailed examination of the rise of humanism in the context of quattrocento Florence.[1]

The overall arrangement of the series is kept simple, and early on, Rossellini sketches in the political conflicts that will structure the first two episodes. Rinaldo degli Albizi, the representative of the Florentine nobility, emerges as the Medicis' greatest enemy, and by the end of the first episode, he succeeds in having Cosimo exiled from Florence as a threat to the republic. The second episode concerns Cosimo's cunning manipulations, including bribery and threats, to return. From this point on, the political and economic context having been explained, the focus shifts toward Alberti and an examination of the philosophical and artistic underpinning of Renaissance humanism.

Rossellini again places himself strategically between two epochs, in this case the waning Middle Ages and the barely emerging Renaissance.[2] The latter period is equated with such other great moments of civilization as fifth-century Athens and the establishment of Christianity, and occupies a special place for the director as the source of the humanism that has underwritten the subsequent history of Western civilization. As he wrote in his book Utopia, autopsia 1010 :


[Humanism is] the attempt to allow the human spirit to reach its full potential, in complete freedom of activity, beyond every constriction, putting the accent on the worth and dignity of man which express themselves in the capacity to understand, imagine, and invent. This attitude became concrete in the fifteenth century and reached back to the sources of the wisdom of classical antiquity, enriching them with study, meditation, and research. Its ideal was the complete man —or the most complete possible—capable of expressing the "known" and the "to be known" and also human "feeling." The Renaissance is the result of this rebirth of man, finally capable of thinking, experimenting, researching, and expressing himself.

These notions are little more than commonplaces, of course, but Rossellini goes on to make explicit the connection with the rest of his historical project, explaining how this humanism is related to science and the industrial revolution:

It is a period which is also the beginning of the development of "technique," understood in a new way, and which will become the foundation for that industrial revolution which will emerge three centuries later. But it is also the moment which creates so many new curiosities which will find their fulfillment with the development of the experimental method (Bacon, Galileo) and which will systematize the philosophical criteria used for the identification of the laws of Nature. This method leads to the Science of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.[3]

The film opens with the funeral of Cosimo's father, Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici, with the attendant transference of money and power to the son. The point is made very quickly, in overheard conversations concerning the deceased, that it is possible to be rich and good at the same time (perhaps like being artistic and scientific?), though Rossellini leaves a final judgment on Giovanni di Bicci open, as we hear both positive and negative things said about him. On the surface, at least, this is Rossellini's technique throughout the series—to let us make up our own minds about things—but some naive critics have maintained that, in fact, Rossellini has no preestablished point to make and allows the viewer "total" freedom. This is nonsense, of course, for if we are allowed to make our own judgments in individual scenes, the overall course of events—like those surrounding the establishment of Christianity in Acts of the Apostles —flows past us as naturally as a river, as though the Renaissance and all that it brought with it were simply meant to be.

No sooner is the funeral scene over than we are launched on a grand survey of Florentine history, economics, politics, manufacturing, crafts, and art. As in Acts of the Apostles , we initially see everything through the eyes of a visiting foreigner, in this case a British merchant named Wadding. He is in town to buy goods, and the wonders of Florence are explained to him in loving detail. The city itself is emphasized as an entity from the beginning, even more strongly than are Jerusalem in Acts and Athens in Socrates , and we are treated early on to a matte shot of Florence from afar that underlines the city's status as another "character" in the film. This shot usually evokes laughter in the audience, but it is clearly not meant to be realistically convincing, as it is taken from a highly stylized, colored woodcut of the period. Again, Rossellini


means to give us a visual summation of Florence as an idea rather than convince us that we are really there.

On their way to the city, Wadding and his guide encounter an old man who bewails the changes that have taken place, especially the increasing importance of the city over the country and the shift from a barter economy to one based on money: "Today all life has become money, money and usury. We are walking directly toward madness. It is the end of the world." Rossellini makes no attempt to account for this harangue in conventional dramatic terms, and it is clear that the old man is there simply for the sake of what he has to say. Structurally, he occupies the same place taken up later by the woman who argues with Alberti about the painter Masaccio's "blasphemy" of showing God in human terms and the man who denounces Pascal in the earlier film for slighting the ancients. Such commentary is meant to provide us a fresh sense of how various controversies looked to its participants, and may even foster the illusion of directorial neutrality. Given the subsequent course of Western history, however, we are finally unable to do anything but smile patronizingly on such "stupidities," and Rossellini knows it.

Information pours out to the English merchant. We hear of the tortuous rationalizations of the Florentines to allow usury (which at this time meant lending money with any demand of interest), even though it is expressly forbidden by Church law. When Wadding responds, "This clearly demonstrates that with a little subtlety and hypocrisy, one can elude the law," his Florentine guide merely laughs. (Throughout, Rossellini wisely allows mild aspersions to be cast on Florence—the Florentines often do it themselves—for he knows the city's exuberance and imagination will always redeem its sins.) We learn of different types of wool, the history of the plague years, and the Florentine guilds' ruthless protection of trade secrets. The sample of silk that Wadding has brought with him, in fact, turns out to be a fake; the guild meets, determines who the turncoat must be, and, with incredible economy, in the following scene we see the man killed and his house in Avignon set afire. Various papal intrigues are explained to us next, as well as the reasons for the war the Albizi have fomented against the neighboring city of Lucca. We are shown how coins are manufactured, how the government works, and how taxes are levied and collected; and we see Cosimo hiring professional troublemakers to win the people over to his side against the Albizi.

Perhaps the most significant moment of the early part of the series, which prepares the way for the last half's emphasis on humanism, comes when Wadding is taken to see Masaccio's luminous new frescoes in the Brancacci Chapel.[4] Wadding is amazed that so much money and effort are spent on such "beautiful, but useless" things, but this medieval man is even more overwhelmed by the naturalism of Masaccio's figures of Adam and Eve:

I do not know what to say. I understand little of such things. Yet these works astonish me. I believe that such things do not exist in England. . . . So they allow these sensual images to appear in churches here? These things confuse me. True, these bodies are human, but they deny that which is spiritual in man. [There is a pause in the actor's delivery between each sentence.][5]


Rossellini wisely keeps Wadding's guide from replying, since the rest of the series constitutes the only proper response. The brilliance of the Renaissance, we come to understand, is precisely its synthesis of the pagan cult of beauty and the antisensual Christian values that were at odds in Augustine of Hippo . In the largest sense, what will be achieved is the reunification of the body and the soul.

This typical Rossellinian theme of unity is expressed in other guises as well. Thus, one of the major events of the film is the Florentine council during which the Church hierarchy seeks to unify the eastern and western churches, just as Augustine and the apostles struggled to put down heresy to preserve the early Church's unity. When Cosimo is applauded for facilitating this grand reconciliation, he is told: "We owe to you the unification of the Holy Roman church with the Greek Orthodox church. And also the unification of the inheritance of Athens and Rome" (p. 357). Everything of value in Western history thus has a stake in this question of unity, of oneness. Even the doctrinal agreement arrived at by the churchmen is that the Holy Spirit comes from the Father and the Son, "as from a single principle, and this truth of the faith must be believed and accepted by all Christians" (p. 358). The economic and social manifestation of this unity is found in the new ascendancy of Florence, which, as Alberti says a few moments later, "has become the center of Europe" (p. 359).

The desire for unity relates similarly to the other principal themes of the film. According with Rossellini's lifelong insistence on the necessity for the unity of the whole person, here the emphasis is on that remarkable Florentine blend of the ostensibly conflicting impulses of art, humanism, and commerce. Without actually analyzing it, Rossellini himself pointed to this conjunction in a 1975 interview: "The Medici are finally the grand joining of humanism and mercantilism, the great dream of the bourgeoisie which came to the surface with the economic organization which we know—banks, letters of credit, etc. These two things, which seem to have nothing to do with one another, manifested themselves at the same historical moment."[6] For Rossellini the rise of the bourgeoisie is seen as an almost unmitigated blessing, as it was in L'età del ferro , for it brings with it science and technology, with their "labor-saving" machines, as well as a new view of the place of human beings in the cosmos. Thus, it is no accident that Alberti is also portrayed, like Pascal, as a Leonardesque Renaissance man who is capable not only of art and architecture, but also of designing fortresses, weapons, the gadgets that spur his research into perspective, and, above all, the machinery that "works in place of the hands." We see this conjuncture most clearly when he shows off his new inventions to the infamous tyrant Sigismondo Malatesta (who was not only excommunicated, but in a unique ceremony actually "canonized to hell"). Alberti has been invited to Rimini to design what has since been known as the Tempio Malatestiana because of its reliance on classical models to solve contemporary architectural problems. This is not the end of his services, however, for he also invents a new cannon for Sigismondo, designs a fortress for him, explains how to defeat an enemy by using intelligence rather than force, and suggests how to lay out a city in such a way that internal dissent can be easily quelled. (Though after outlining the plans, he demurs: "However, this would be no ideal city—it is a tyrant's city, very different from


that of a king or a republic" [p. 365]). It is difficult to locate Rossellini in all of this, but in spite of the film's overwhelmingly favorable portrait of Alberti, it is impossible to miss the connections here among religion, humanism, industry, war, and repression. Ambiguity reigns as well in an earlier sequence of the same scene: the machine-filled room that Alberti proudly shows off to Sigismondo is also noisy, crowded, and grim, as though unconsciously pointing toward the horrors—graphically depicted in Europa '51 —that accompanied the wonders of the machine age which Alberti helped to inaugurate.

The theme of time is also relevant here, and in the second episode Brunelleschi shows Cosimo the clock he has invented, telling him, "I have always enjoyed experimenting with machines, and I think that a machine to measure time will be very useful in the future, don't you agree?" (p. 332). Very useful indeed, for it was precisely the measurement of time that permitted the organization of industrial labor, removed from the natural temporal rhythms of the seasons and the sun. Time is also an aspect of what is perhaps the film's most explicit linking of learning and commerce, in a scene in which Alberti convinces his brother that he is making a mistake by not charging interest on an installment contract with some foreign merchants. The merchants are outraged at first, but Alberti explains that time is a gift of God's like any other, and is therefore meant to be exploited by man. So, if they want to pay in installments, they will have to pay extra. Alberti then moves naturally to show them the latest of his magic perspective boxes (Brunelleschi has also shown a perspective box to Cosimo in the scene mentioned above); the box amazes them, and the whole comes together: "Our compliments and our respects to your great knowledge, as well as to your abilities as a merchant!" (p. 350).

The film continually celebrates the unique character of the Florentine mercantile community. As one character exclaims: "Florence is rich in florins and in generous men, and so there is work for all its artists. Its expanding business and commerce have elevated artisans of the simplest mechanical arts to the finer arts" (p. 354). And the grandest patron of all is Cosimo de' Medici, who emerges, in typical Rossellini fashion, as a fascinating and contradictory character. One of the film's great strengths, in fact, is that we are never quite sure how to take Cosimo. We are clearly meant to admire him, yet he is also shown as a man who will manipulate people and events to get his way, bribe officials, pay the debts of his friends to keep them loyal, hire troublemakers, and even try to get more deductions on his income tax than he knows he is rightfully due. He and his men scheme continually, and though they regard the arrival of the pope in Florence as properly moral and uplifting, they are gleeful that it will also be good for business.

One of the most powerfully ambiguous scenes in this regard is the one in which Cosimo goes to speak to the archbishop of Florence. We are aware throughout that Cosimo is committed above all to the law, but perhaps because it usually works in his favor. The specific conflict that surfaces in this scene is between morality, on the one hand, and civil law and duty, on the other, an issue that was also raised in Augustine . Cosimo insists that the law must be upheld (and, thus, those who exiled him must be executed) "because, as you know,


cities cannot be governed with Our Fathers" (p. 355). The bishop replies that the most grievous injustices can be committed in the name of the law, and demands to know what Cosimo is planning to do with the prisoners his men have taken. Saying nothing, Cosimo throws himself abruptly at the feet of the archbishop, a gesture reminiscent of the moment in which Louis XIV insincerely begs his mother to forgive him for removing her from his council. The film then cuts instantly, in a tidy, wordless cause-and-effect equation, to a man being executed in a dark prison and then back to a tight shot on Cosimo's face that begins the next scene.

Throughout the film Rossellini is careful to sprinkle in negative views of Cosimo, but overall, the whole is orchestrated, even visually, to make us identify strongly with him and his cause—though, as in earlier Rossellini films, from a distance and not emotionally. One of the film's most powerful scenes comes when Cosimo returns to Florence from exile, and heroically insists on going into town alone and unarmed, where he is greeted by throngs of cheering citizens. He is continually associated with light, while the scenes of recruitment for his enemies' armies, for example, take place in dark basements. He is also explicitly shown to be a lover of the arts and learning, and when he spends a great deal of money to buy some rare books, he is overtly contrasted with the boorish German princes and merchants who have sold them merely to make a profit.

But if Rossellini is favorably disposed toward Cosimo, in spite of his faults, his true identification in this film—on a level with his sympathy for Socrates—is with Leon Battista Alberti, of whom he is nearly worshipful. Alberti first appears near the beginning of the second episode, and irregularly after that, almost in alternating scenes. (He does not really "take over" once and for all, splitting the film in two, as some critics have maintained.) Through him, we are introduced to all of the humanist topics of the day: the debate concerning the use of Latin rather than the vernacular (as might be expected, Alberti opts for the historically validated decision using the vernacular because of its greater accessibility), the competition between Brunelleschi and Ghiberti for the commission to build the cupola on top of the already-constructed dome of the Florence Cathedral, and so on. We visit Donatello's studio with him, where he marvels at the sculptor's bronze David, and wince when he is attacked for theorizing about architecture without being a practicing architect. We hear his theories about perspective, his plan for rescuing classical Rome from the ruins. We are made to understand the brilliance of his claim that much knowledge will come from the ancients, whose buildings and writings have lain untouched and buried for centuries. (For all his reverence for the ancients, however, by the end of the film Alberti is claiming, with Rossellini's support, that the men of Florence are their equals.) Overtly becoming the director's spokesman, he in fact implicitly criticizes the ancients by insisting again and again on the truth of Donatello's dictum that "it is necessary to study nature to understand what is true." When Alberti defends the human dimension of Masaccio's Trinità in the third episode, he is merely repeating what Rossellini has said many times in interviews:


But Christ came to us as a man. No doubt religious faith has its just value, but the artist must start from his own reality, a human reality. Masaccio rightly gave man his exact dimensions and he did well to give Christ so human a body. What is important to me in this painting is that art and knowledge are interwoven. There can be no fine art today unless it is as well fine science (pp. 346–47).

Similarly, the very opening scene of the third episode shows Alberti laboriously measuring a boy's head with calipers because he believes it is impossible to draw, paint, or sculpt without "assiduous study." Yet in spite of his insistence on looking at the world and on attending to its disparate empirical particulars, Alberti's purpose, like Rossellini's, is always to chart "essences." Thus, Alberti measures the boy's head to discover "the universal model of reality, one that exists in nature itself. The various parts which compose a body, all related by fixed proportions and symmetry. To discover the mathematical and geometric rules governing these relationships means to grasp the very essence of the archetype, the universal model on which nature builds" (p. 345). What is different in The Age of the Medici is that this thought of essences does not consistently or exclusively lead, as it does in other films, in a religious direction. In fact, Rossellini insists on the more conventional (and increasingly disputed) view of the Renaissance as human-centered, and God, whenever mentioned, seems little more than an afterthought. Even in Alberti's lengthy defense of Masaccio's work, God is barely spoken of except as a good subject for the painting.

Nevertheless, there are two seemingly important, if somewhat ambiguous, religious moments in the film that bear further examination. The first comes near the end of the second episode, and takes place in a church. The scene has not been prepared for, and a straight cut takes us to a medium shot of a priest preaching. His first words are: "Men of our time and our city are truly reputed to be the masters and creators of everything. They seek knowledge in the writings of pagans, and they forget that life and reason are fruits of the spirit which Christ our Lord has given us" (p. 334). The camera then pans the faithful, among whom are an expressionless Cosimo and Alberti, and in the same shot, a rather awkward panning and zooming movement closely details a medieval fresco that graphically illustrates the torments of the damned, while the preacher goes on at length about the beauty of the soul, salvation, and faith. Focused again on the preacher, the camera pulls back to split the screen exactly between him and a fresco of the Crucifixion, a subject that has not been mentioned thus far in the film. Though the preacher is in effect directly countering the spirit of everything else in the series, Rossellini sympathetically accompanies his words with the voices of a choir. There is no other comment, and we must puzzle out the apparent contradiction ourselves. Here Rossellini nicely succeeds, for once, in the attempt to present the material in a dialectical fashion, without prejudgment. (In fact, throughout the film—and it is more in evidence here than in any other film of the didactic period—several different characters, in a technique reminiscent of what Bakhtin called Dostoevsky's "dialogic imagination," offer widely divergent opinions in a given scene, and we are left to divine the "point" on our own.)

The other scene is more complicated. It takes place in the studio of the great



Alberti (Virginio Gazzolo, on the right) discusses the nature of the universe
with the philosopher Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa (Ugo Cardea) and
the mathematician Toscanelli (Bruno Catteneo) in  The Age of the Medici  (1972).

mathematician Toscanelli, immediately following Alberti's defense of Masaccio's Trinità , and includes Alberti, Toscanelli, and the noted scientist and philosopher Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa. We learn of Toscanelli's work with ancient Arabic mathematical texts, by means of which he has correctly calculated the circumference of the earth, made maps, and predicated the return of a comet. Nicholas, who confesses to being stupefied by these calculations, launches into a mystical speech, accompanied by emotionally heightened music on the sound track, in which all this apparent diversity of the world, once again, is unified:

The universe is a pluralistic unity. It is difficult for us to understand, but, though the universe is composed of a thousand parts, they are brought back to unity by God who lives in them . And in this unity, opposites coincide. Heat and cold, light and shadow, high and low: we think of these as contradictions but they coexist in the universe and are rational, for in the universe, as in God, opposites are harmonious, at one and the same time containing the reason for their own being and for their opposites. Truth is in the one which is absolute, singular, and infinite. But human knowledge is relative, multiple, limited. It is only an approximation and every science is merely a conjecture. God and the universe are unknowable; the only remaining path is that of the unknowing sage [the theme of Socrates and Pascal ]


and his constant organic study of conjecture. Only in God can one realize the summit of knowledge, for his infinite simplicity contains within itself the multiplicity of things [my emphasis]. (pp. 347–48).

The potentially dangerous deconstructive thought that opposites "at one and the same time" contain "the reason for their own being and for their opposites," a notion that seems to open an endless oscillation that could threaten the self-sufficiency of pure presence—in other words, the self-presence of entities or concepts that can come first and can stand alone—is here defused by anchoring it in a God who reconciles opposites and who is the source, center, and end point of the truth that is "one." The obvious plurality and difference of experience is thus nicely recuperated in a deity as the Derridean "transcendental signified," which can ground, or better, halt, the endless chain of signifiers and the difference and discontinuity that characterize the world. Nicholas' strategy is, in fact, not very different from the one undertaken by Bazin when he speaks of the "essence of reality."

This centering, unifying operation has its specifically visual side as well. In the very next scene Alberti is espousing his views of perspective and insists that painters will have to became geometricians if they are to paint properly. "Should human knowledge ever uncover all truth we would know that man and his world are at one predetermined harmony and rational plan." It is linear perspective, based on mathematics, that manifests this harmony, and again, the connection with commerce is not far behind. The art historian Samuel Edgerton, in his book The Renaissance Re-Discovery of Linear Perspective , suggests that in fifteenth-century Florence, mathematics had become the lingua franca that united businessmen, artists, humanists, and shopkeepers. It is to this fact that he attributes the ready acceptance of this new style of painting based on perspective. Men of commerce appreciated it because it rested "on tidy principles of mathematical order that they applied to their bank ledgers."[7] In the Middle Ages, of course, reality had been regarded as something chaotic and multiple (even if subsumed in the unity of God). With the birth of Renaissance perspective, however, reality began to be seen as though through a window—as something one looks at "objectively,"[8] rather than something one is in subjectively—in other words, a field available to the investigation of the single eye, and more or less stable and fixed. The film theorist Stephen Heath has examined the epistemological implications of this new system in some detail. He first quotes Pierre Francastel: "In the fifteenth century, the human societies of Western Europe organized, in the material and intellectual senses of the term, a space completely different from that of the preceding generations; with their technical superiority, they progressively imposed that space over the planet." Heath then continues:

For five centuries men and women exist at ease in that space; the Quattrocento system provides a practical representation of the world which in time appears so natural as to offer its real representation, the immediate translation of reality itself. The conception of the Quattrocento system is that of a scenographic space, space set out as spectacle for the eye of the spectator. Eye and knowledge come together; subject, object, and the distance of the steady observation that allows the one to master the other; the scene with its strength of geometry and optics.


From here it is an easy step to the photographic camera, which also "fixes" the world, and then to the film camera, which presents "a world . . . conceived outside of process and practice, empirical scene of the confirmed and central master-spectator, serenely 'present' in tranquil rectilinearity."[9] It might also be added, in conjunction with Rossellini's vision of Western history, that this system of objectifying, of placing reality "out there," yet directly approachable through the conflation of eye/I and knowledge, leads inevitably as well to empirical science, technology, and the Industrial Revolution.

At times the link between filmmaking and Renaissance perspective theory is made even more explicit in the series as well, as, for example, when Alberti stands in directly for Rossellini not only by expressing his views, but by acting as a prototypical film director. Thus, when the merchants are amazed by Alberti's visual inventions, Alberti, like Rossellini a debunker, is quick to point out that there is nothing magical about them at all. He says that it is all just "a system of mirrors," nicely describing the visual aspect of Rossellini's historical reconstructions. When Alberti's friend replies, "It's almost a game!" Alberti becomes more serious, and the connection with Rossellini's own lifelong work is impossible to miss: "No, it is a means of discovering nature through images which measure our eyes' capacity to see and to be captured in illusion. To establish how best to guide one's hand when one would trace of nature, to capture its movements, its color" (pp. 350–51). The visual apparatus also allows both Alberti and the filmmaker to reach those continually sought essences through, or in spite of, the particularities of the image. In an insightful article on this film, Michael Silverman insists that both Alberti and Rossellini urge the viewer to forget the "materiality of the signifier," the materiality of what we are seeing and hearing:

Rossellini and Alberti are both masters of the double image, but it is not a doubleness which promotes disharmony. The spiritual (whether it goes under the name of humanism or something else) is embodied corporeally and rigorously, even as it points elsewhere, to another center of power. For a director like Bresson the image is insufficient, it points to a breach; for Rossellini, inheritor of Alberti's teaching, the image is sufficient precisely because it legally denominates a spiritual system which sanctions the human eye even as it leads it toward a vanishing point.[10]

In some ways, though, Rossellini seems to be vaguely aware of the gap within this double image between signifier and signified, for the film's visual space is often played with. Thus, many of his scenes are composed in deep focus, where space is beautifully and complexly suggested, while others, usually when characters stand in front of a fresco or tapestry, are purposely and self-reflexively flattened.[11] Even the zoom is used ambiguously here, for while most critics think of it as a device that collapses space, in this film it often seems to have the feel of a dolly (mostly because characters and objects are arranged in circles, often with their backs toward the camera), and thus seems to be plunging through a real, three-dimensional field. The significance of this dynamic of illusionism and its unmasking remains unclear, however,[12] since the relation of the two-dimensional scenes to the three-dimensional does not seem to be determined thematically, but


rather represents an unspecific problematizing of the question of space. Once again, as with the spectacularity of La Prise de pouvoir par Louis XIV , Rossellini seems to be pointing to a troublesome area without really bothering to explore it in depth.

As usual, Rossellini's treatment by the RAI was tantamount to an insult. The first episode was substituted for another program at the last minute and broadcast the day after Christmas in 1972, traditionally a time of little television viewing. In Sergio Trasatti's words:

Here we were faced with Cosimo de' Medici, when we were expecting Mickey Mouse and Popeye. And what do we discover, in fact, but Popeye at the same time on the other channel. The first episode of L'Età di Cosimo , even if it was supposedly watched by ten million people, was drowned in an orgy of Max Linder sketches, cartoons, and acrobatic tricks from Billy Smart's circus. It would be interesting to have some statistics on the "enjoyment index" . . . but they are lacking. It is also strange that they are lacking for the next two episodes as well. For Popeye, however, the thermometer of enjoyment went all the way to 77, and the RAI was satisfied.[13]


35— The Age of the Medici (1972)

Preferred Citation: Brunette, Peter. Roberto Rossellini. Berkeley:  University of California Press,  c1996 1996.