Given the notorious propensity of our Bollywood film makers to unabashedly steal from Western sources and the imminent release of some Hindi movies, we ordered Woman Times Seven (1967) the other day from Netflix.
Directed by Vittorio De Sica, Woman Times Seven is different from your run of the mill 90- or 100-minute movie.
It is not one long movie but a collection of seven separate episodes, all featuring Shirley MacLaine and a host of other actors including some well known figures like Peter Sellers, Michael Caine and Anita Ekberg.
The stories are all different and have no connection to each other. The only common thread loosely tying the episodes together is adultery.
It’s hard to write an engrossing story for a full-length 100- or 120-minute film. Obviously, it’s even more difficult to put together seven engaging accounts in a 108-minute film.
If we didn’t find Woman Times Seven very engaging, the blame falls squarely on screenplay writer Cesare Zavattini.
Not on Shirley MacLaine’s shoulders. For she does a commendable job, work that earned her a Golden Globe nomination.
The seven episodes (in order of appearance on the DVD) are:
* The Funeral Procession – This funny episode has Shirley MacLaine playing the widow and the peerless Peter Sellers wooing her during the funeral procession. Humorous dialogs.
* Maria Teresa – A straight adultery story.
* Linda – A weird ‘victory of the spirit over the flesh’ story with adultery overtones didn’t endear itself to us.
* Edith – This one starts slow but gets better as it moves along. Nice lines – I am not crazy. I’m just in love.
* Eve – Centering around a unique dress, this one’s easily the worst of the lot.
* Marie – Not a bad episode but we easily predicted how it’d end.
* Jean – Paired with Michael Caine and Anita Ekberg, Shirley MacLaine does a fine job, particularly in the last scene as she stands by the window and looks out at the snow-covered ground. Does she know what has happened? We’re not so sure.
Its weaknesses aside, SearchIndia.com still recommends you watch Woman Times Seven for the pleasure of seeing Shirley MacLaine in so many avatars.