Scientific Card Player, The / Lo scopone scientifico (1972)

1.5 out of 5

There are several good gambling based films, such as The Hustler and The Cincinnati Kid, but Luigi Comencini's Scopone based effort certainly isn't one of them. With a cast featuring Bette Davis, Joseph Cotten, Alberto Sordi and the glorious Silvana Mangano, one would expect fireworks on the screen. Unfortunately, despite a nicely waspish turn from Davis, anyone not interested in the Italian card game will find the interminable duel more than a little confusing.

The plot is vaguely interesting, with a poor couple deliberately throwing the regular matches with Davis, an aging millionairess, but more could have been made of the rich versus poor aspect, without resorting to 1950s style high drama. The ambiguous ending is a clever touch, and one's eyes cannot be torn away from the form of the former beauty queen, Ms. Mangano, but there is little else to recommend this.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics