Any chance to bask in Marcello Mastroianni's charisma is welcome, so if "Marcello: A Sweet Life" leaves gaping holes in our understanding of the actor's career, it still provides the opportunity to spend 90-plus minutes with one of the screen's greatest charmers. Helmers Mario Canale and Annarosa Morri bring together a who's who of collaborators -- with some major exceptions -- but the biggest treat comes from Antonello Branca's 1965 roving interview that helps reaffirm Mastroianni's discreet seductiveness and gentility. Despite flaws, docu would be an ideal extra on DVD releases.
Talking heads include daughters Barbara and Chiara discussing Marcello as father, and co-stars Claudia Cardinale and Anouk Aimee, the latter especially glowing. Helmers such as Scola and Monicelli recall his consummate professionalism as well as his maddening telephone addiction. Also included are archival interviews with Fellini, Visconti and Zurlini, exposing Mastroianni's legendary laziness as a protective pose covering insecurities. As in Anna Maria Tato's 1997 docu, wives and lovers -- including Sophia Loren -- are conspicuously absent, as are any real discussion of Mastroianni's impressive theater credits. Less talk of his shoe passion and more on his early years would have been appreciated.
Camera (color/B&W), Antonello Branca; editor, Alessandro Raso; music, Armando Trovaioli; sound, Luigi Casale; sound editor, Dario Calvari. Reviewed at Cannes Film Fesitval (Classics), May 21, 2006. Italian, French, English dialogue. Running time: 98 MIN.