Special Day

Best Actor in a Leading Role
Academy Awards
Best Foreign Language Film
Academy Awards
[The pairing of Loren and Mastroianni] lights up the screen with the kind of radiance you get only from great movie actors who also are great stars.


A Special Day

Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni Shine in A SPECIAL DAY
– 45th Anniversary Screenings at Four Laemmle Locations
Wednesday, June 8 at 7PM
Royal, Glendale, Playhouse, and Newhall

Laemmle Theatres and the Anniversary Classic Series present Ettore Scola’s Oscar-nominated period drama 'A Special Day' (1977) as the latest title in our Anniversary Classics Abroad program, coinciding with LGBTQ Pride month. The film stars international superstars Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni in unconventional roles as a drab housewife and gay radio announcer whose paths cross on the day that Hitler visited Mussolini in Rome in 1938.

Loren plays an oppressed housewife with six children who is left behind when her fascist husband takes their family to the political event. Mastroianni, who has lost his job because of suspicions about his sexuality and is facing prison, is the only other occupant of their apartment building. Their day-long encounter constitutes the heart and soul of the film, which plays like a cinematic two hander. The film was Oscar nominated in two categories, Best Actor for Mastroianni, and Best Foreign Film. It also won the Golden Globe in that latter category.

This was the sixth of eight pairings for Loren and Mastroianni, who had set Academy Award milestones in the early sixties. Loren became the first player to win for a foreign-language performance (Best Actress for 'Two Women,' 1961); Mastroianni followed that feat as the first actor nominated in a foreign language role ('Divorce Italian Style,' 1962). They were first paired as costars in 'Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow' (1963) and their irresistible chemistry made them one of the great screen teams over the next three decades. Loren scored another nomination for their second collaboration, 'Marriage Italian Style' (1964), and was awarded an Honorary Oscar in 1991 “for a career with memorable performances that have added permanent luster to our art form.” Mastroianni would go on to a third nomination in 1987 for 'Dark Eyes,' but never won.

Vincent Canby, the principal film critic of the New York Times in that era, was a major champion of the film, writing, “In Ettore Scola’s funny, humane 'A Special Day,' Antoinetta and Gabriele are never really a couple, but their brief encounter lights up the screen with a bit of radiance you get only from great movie actors who are also great stars…their encounter enriches their lives, which on a somewhat smaller scale, is what this film does…a breathtaking display of teamwork I associate with Tracy and Hepburn.” Pauline Kael in the New Yorker noted that even a de-glamorized Loren “never looked more richly beautiful.”

Writer-director Scola emerged from the Italian neo-realist movement as a writer in the 1950s, directing his first film in 1964. In that early stage of his career his most memorable credit was co-writing 'Il Sorpasso' in that landmark year for cinema, 1962. That film has grown in stature through the years, serving as the chief inspiration for Alexander Payne’s acclaimed film 'Sideways' in 2004. Additionally, Scola’s 1981 film 'Passione d’amore' greatly influenced another artist, as Stephen Sondheim based his Broadway musical 'Passion' on that Scola film. In 'A Special Day' Scola demonstrates the simple power of an observant drama on the lives of two lonely souls so beautifully inhabited by Loren and Mastroianni.
Not Rated
Anniversary Classics, Drama, Fascism
Ettore Scola
Ruggero Maccari, Ettore Scola, Maurizio Costanzo
Sophia Loren, Marcello Mastroianni, John Vernon
Nominee, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Academy Awards
Nominee, Best Foreign Language Film, Academy Awards

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