Swept Away

Swept Away, from1974, was directed by Lina Wertmüller and stars Giancarlo Giannini and Mariangela Melato.

Director Wertmüller was born in Rome in 1926 to a devoutly Roman Catholic family.

She was a rebellious child and was expelled from more than a dozen Catholic schools and, although her father wanted her to become a lawyer, she enrolled in acting school.

After graduating, her first job was touring Europe in a puppet show and for the next ten years she worked as an actress, director and playwright.

During this time, she met Giancarlo Giannini, who would star in many of her films. She also met Federico Fellini and in 1962, Fellini offered her a position as assistant director on his film, .

The next year, Wertmüller made her directorial debut with The Lizards, a film about the lives of impoverished people in southern Italy, which would become a recurring theme in her later films.

Several other moderately successful films followed, but it was not until 1972 that she achieved international acclaim with a series of four movies, starring her old friend, Giancarlo Giannini.

The last, and most acclaimed of the four films was 1975's Seven Beauties, which earned 4 Academy Award nominations and was an international hit. Wertmüller is also well-known for her whimsical and lengthy movie titles.

The full title of the film is Swept Away By An Unusual Destiny in the Blue Sea of August.

The story is about a wealthy woman whose yachting vacation in the Mediterranean Sea takes an unexpected turn when she and one of the boat's crew are separated from the others and are stranded on a deserted island.

The woman's capitalist beliefs and the man's communist convictions clash, but during their struggle to survive their situation, their social roles are reversed.

Swept Away received the 1975 National Board of Review of Motion Pictures Award for Top Foreign Film. In his review in the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert gave the film four stars, his highest rating.

It was remade in 2002, starred Madonna and was directed by her then-husband Guy Ritchie. The remake was a disaster and received scathing reviews from critics worldwide.

Giancarlo Giannini plays Gennarino. He is an Oscar-nominated Italian actor, director and multilingual film dubber, who has an international reputation for his leading roles in Italian films, as well as for his mastery of a variety of languages and dialects.

At the age of 18, he enrolled in the Academy of Dramatic Art in Rome, making his stage acting debut there. His credits included performances in contemporary Italian plays, as well as in Italian productions of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer's Night Dream.

He made his debut on television in 1965, starring as David Copperfield in an Italian TV mini-series. The same year he made his big-screen debut in Libido, a psychological thriller.

Since 1966, he has collaborated on several films with this film’s legendary director and his best-known starring roles have been in films directed by Wertmüller.

In 1976, he starred in Seven Beauties, for which he was nominated for an Oscar as Best Actor, which was unusual, because his performance was given entirely in Italian.

In addition to Swept Away and Seven Beauties, he also appeared in The Seduction of Mimi, Love and Anarchy, A Night Full of Rain, and Francesca e Nunziata.

Giannini also made a reputation for dubbing international stars in films released on the Italian market. He has dubbed for Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, Michael Douglas, Dustin Hoffman, Gérard Depardieu and Ian McKellen, among others.

His fluency in English and his mastery of dialects has won him a number of supporting roles in Hollywood productions.

His fluency in English has brought him a number of featured roles in Hollywood productions, most notably as Inspector Pazzi in Hannibal. He played the role of the protective father, Alberto Aragón, in A Walk in the Clouds in 1995.

He played the Emperor Shaddam IV in the 2000 Dune miniseries and he was the Italian police inspector in 2001’s Hannibal. Perhaps his best-known recent role is as French agent René Mathis in the James Bond films, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace.

In his nearly 50-year career, he has appeared in over 130 films and TV shows.

He has been married twice and is still acting today.

He also has a son named Adriano, who is also an actor.  In a strange twist, in Madonn’a 2002 remake of Swept Away, Adriano the son played the same role that his father originated in this film.

Mariangela Melato, playing Raffaella, was born in Milan, the daughter of a traffic cop and a seamstress. At a young age she studied painting and worked as a window dresser to pay for her acting lessons.

A striking blonde actress, she began her stage career in 1960 and is best known for her steamy work in Italian films of the 1970s. After attaining international success with many of her films, Melato attempted to make a career for herself in the U.S. as well.

One of her most famous American roles was as villainess General Kala in 1980's Flash Gordon and she played the female lead opposite Ryan O'Neal in the 1981 comedy, So Fine.

But she didn’t have the same success here that she had in Italy, and she went back to her native country, where she continued her career.

She reunited with director Wertmüller for another film with a long name, Summer Night, with Greek Profile, Almond Eyes and Scent of Basil in 1986 but she gradually did fewer films and concentrated more on stage roles.

Melato recently died at the age of71.