Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
Directed by Vittorio De Sica, in three stories a couple keep having babies to keep the wife out of jail; a wealthy wife is about to have an affair with a writer until they have an accident; and in the third a manicurist gets to know a seminary student next door and keeps putting off her lover.
In “Adelina” a truck arrives, and a man reads from a paper to Carmine Sbaratti (Marcelo Mastroianni) how much they now owe for their furniture. Then he goes in to see his wife but notices that the furniture is gone and leaves. The neighbors start bringing back the furniture. The lawyer Dr. Verace (Agostino Salvietti) tells Carmine that that is all he is good for, and he warns him he is in big trouble and will go to jail for what he has done. Carmine asks for what crime and goes after him and says it is his wife’s furniture and that they fined her. Verace says she will go to jail. Carmine runs after him.
On the street Adelina Sbaratti (Sophia Loren) is selling cigarettes. Pasquale (Aldo Guiffré) comes and tells her that the lawyer is there to see her. She is pregnant and goes with him.
In the house Verace’s sister (Tecia Scarano) tells Carmine and Amadeo Scapece (Lino Mattera) that they are deceitful and that Verace may not help them. Carmine answers the door and lets Adelina in with Pasquale. Adelina has Pasquale and Amadeo remove the woman. They see Verace, and Carmine asks him to help Adelina. She tells him that she was fined for selling cigarettes. She asks how she can get by since her husband has been employed. Verace says they cannot arrest her because of her big belly.
This news is passed around quickly, and children chant as they march in the street to the harbor.
Adelina walks on the street and smiles to people she sees. She returns to her table and takes out the cigarettes.
At home the Sbaratti family is dining and talking. Carmine says he was drafted, and Adelina tells the story of her giving birth. She says this baby will come in May.
In the evening people come out of a church. Adelina is carrying her baby. They wish her mother a merry Christmas. She leaves, and Pasquale arrives and invites them to come over because he got a big cake; but Adelina says she does not want to go to dinner. She and Carmine go inside their house. Police knock, and one tells her that her term is up and that she is under arrest. She says she has a doctor’s certificate; they have to come back in a few months and leave.
Adelina clears her table and shows the police another paper, and they leave.
Carmine with two boys buys some chestnuts from Pasquale who does not take his money. Pasquale tells him that her reprieve ends in May.
Pasquale is selling cherries, and Adelina comes home to find the policeman there. She has another baby and gives him another certificate. Adelina now has seven children, and Pasquale brings them candy. He says she is prettier than ever, and she says children are good for her. She tries to make a child take medicine, and the child bites Pasquale’s hand. The child is under a bed, and she gets a broom and finally gives him the medicine. She sends the noisy children outside and says she will send them to school. Pasquale puts a baby girl to bed. Adelina thanks him, and he kisses her. She asks if he is crazy, and he says he got carried away.
Carmine tells his mother that he came there to sleep. She says she pays little rent there. She opens a door and asks the foreman of workers how long they will be hammering. He says they will break for lunch in ten minutes.
On the street Adelina is waiting, and a man with incense comes into her house. She asks him to shake it by the bed. He says Carmine wants a son, and he asks for bad things to stay away from this house.
Carmine is frustrated that he cannot sleep and says he only gets a bowl of soup each day. He has dizzy spells and wobbly legs. He says his wife has bloomed, but his mother says he has become ugly as an ape.
At home Carmine is at the dinner table while babies are in bed. Adelina takes off her dress and lies on the bed.
Outside Carmine helps unload fruit from a truck and drops oranges on the street. At her table Adelina says she was sure and got the certificate ready. Carmine arrives with four children; she says she was late, but it was nothing.
Adelina and Carmine visit a doctor, and she asks for preferential treatment. She asks Carmine to speak; but she interrupts and says she has been nursing continuously. Carmine says they married for love, and she says he is out of work. The doctor says he should control himself. She says she wants more children. The doctor is surprised and realizes they want him to examine her husband. He checks his reflexes, his eyes, and his blood pressure. The doctor says he is run down and needs rest and nourishing food. He says they will have a baby next year.
Pasquale brings medicine for Carmine, Adelina says that in a month she will be in jail. She is cooking soup. She says he has what it takes, and she wants to stay out of jail. She tells him to show her and sits on the bed. He asks if she means now and here, and she says yes. He sits on the bed and asks where Carmine is. She says he is with his mother with the kids. He kisses her and fondles her breasts. She gets upset and calls for Carmine. She says he is shameful and asks how he could do this to her husband. He is confused and says she wanted it. She gets out clothes and ties them together. Carmine comes in, and Adelina goes out with two children.
Police show Adelina and the two children into a cell for women, but then she goes to a place for the children. A nun gives her changes for the baby. She meets the other women and asks their names and crimes. She takes off her baby’s diaper and gives her breast to feed.
Carmine gives Verace 40,000 lire, and he says this will only give her an eight-day remission on her jail term. He says he will get 300,000 more.
At night Carmine has brought a singer outside the prison, and Adelina hears him. She gets the nun to let her out of the room in her slip and walks to the bars where they can see her. The singer sings to her that he has always loved her.
Reporters come into his office, and Verace tells them that they have collected the full amount. He has applied to the President for a pardon. She was sentenced to four a half months. He says the press can mobilize public opinion to help her.
Carmine is visiting Adelina, and she complains. He says he can’t wait for her to get out. She says when she needed him, he ran to his mother. She leaves the visiting room.
A woman tells Adelina that she has been granted a pardon. She tells the women that she is free.
Carmine arrives in a car with the children, and they park by the prison.
Adelina goes to the visiting room to see Verace. Outside reporters interview Carmine who says the children are happy. He says he will write a letter to the President to thank him. Adelina comes out with the two children, and the other children go to her. She hugs Carmine, and they all pile into the car.
On the street many people are waiting for them. Verace is also in the car that is surrounded by happy people. Adelina waves.
Adelina and Carmine are in bed, and she sends Enrico to answer the door. A woman says the cigarettes have arrived. Adelina says it is her first day of freedom, and she is taking it off. The children hug her on the bed.
In “Anna” on a Sunday the streets are still busy. In a moving car Anna Molteni (Sophia Loren) is describing the city and says that Renzo is the best man she knows. The car stops behind a parked car, and Renzo (Marcelo Mastroianni) gets out and comes to her car window. They say hello, and he gets in. He says she is not late. They discuss where to go. She puts the top of the car down. She asks if he has time for a drive, and he says yes. They see large signs, and he asks if that is her husband. She says she does not notice them anymore. She hits the car in front of her, and others look. She says she could not sleep last night. She says he was right about her living like a puppet who is blind. She toots the horn and passes a car. She says that in his arms she felt alive for the first time. She hits another car, and he asks her to close the roof. She asks if he is afraid of being seen. He is worried for her sake. She does not like living with an addict to work, success, and money. She says he cannot stop him. He asks if she is different, and she says he made her feel different. He says he talked nonsense last night. She asks what has changed. He asks how many billions he has. She says he has enough. A pedestrian tells her to slow down, and she asks if he wants to drive. She stops the car, and they change places. She says the car has just been serviced. As he drives, he asks questions about the car and asks if she wants music. She puts on music. He says it is low on gas, but she says she just put some in. She says she is tired of the world. She would like to go to Marrakesh and live on sun and fruit. He mentions money, and she complains he brings it up so often. She says he writes and feels for other people. He asks if she wants to give up her jewelry, and she says it is cheap. She puts her head on his shoulder and then looks at his face. She says her villa is near there. She says they could go to the River Po, but he says it has mosquitoes. She would like some peace and quiet. She has him to park the car by a river. They get out and look at the river. She lays her fur coat on the ground and kisses him. A telephone man sees them and says something. So they get back in the car and go on.
They get back on a highway. She says he likes her. He wonders why she called him. He puts his hand on her cheek, and she clasps it. She wants to go far away and arrive at night. She says they will find a place just for them. She puts her hand on his leg and describes how they will love each other. He closes his eyes and then suddenly he sees a worker on the road and crashes into a large vehicle. He asks if she is hurt, and she says no. He backs up, and she gets out to see the damage to the front of the car. She says the tire is burning, and the car is on fire. She calls him a fool and tells him not to use her fur coat. She opens the trunk, and he tries to set up a jack. She says the car is a jewel and criticizes how he put on the brake. He puts on his coat and sits down by the highway. She flags down a sports-car and asks the man for help. A bald man gets out and says she has a Rolls. He notices the damage and looks in the trunk. She says she foolishly let a Fiat-driver use it. The man explains the brake system and says the damage can be fixed. She says he looks familiar and asks if he knows her husband. She says he is in Stuttgart now on EEC business. She says he will be gone for a week. He takes off the tire and tells her to call a mechanic. He offers to take her to one, and she tells Renzo where she is going. She gets into the sports-car, and it takes off. A boy looks at the damaged car while Renzo sees them go back the other way. The boy asks if it does 150 and if he wants to buy his flowers. Renzo gives him some money and takes the bouquet. He starts walking and throws the flowers away.
In “Mara” young Umberto (Gianni Ridolfi) is dressed like a priest and is reading as he paces on a porch. He sees Mara (Sophia Loren) come out with large bouquets and put them down. She is wrapped in a sheet and sings as she tends the flowers. She goes back inside and answers the door. Excited Augusto Rusconi (Marcelo Mastroianni) comes in, and she tells him not to shout. He says he can’t do it later and gives her presents. He embraces her and says she overwhelms him. She tells him to shut up, and he shows her a new dress. He says he needs tenderness and kisses her on the cheek. He remembers the phone and makes a call. She comes back in a transparent dress and sings as she sees Umberto through the window. Augusto is talking to his father. She starts kissing him, and he hangs up. He embraces her and lays her on the bed. He tells her not to kiss him because she is perfect. She must make herself ugly because she is turning him on. He says he is leaving and goes out as she laughs.
In the evening Umberto tells Mara about his college and how much he studies. She says she has a nephew studying to be a priest. She offers him a cigarette, but he says they are forbidden. She says when she sees him, she feels like confessing. He says she must wait two years. She says she likes to wear black underclothes. She asks if the Council will allow priests to get married, and he says no. He says his saint John will inspire him. She says her saint is Maurillo, and she asks if he knows him. He says no. She likes a saint who has time for her. She says her job doing manicures is not working out. She is paid well and sees hundreds of hands. She asks to see his hand and says she sees his great destiny. She says he is serious but likes sport. He says she is good. She says his destiny is really great. He says he would like to walk with her tomorrow, and they make arrangements to meet. He wants to spend all day with her and will bring sandwiches. She pets her cat and says she will think about it. He pets her cat too. She hears the bell and says it is an important man. He tells Mara he will wait for her. She hands the cat to him and says goodbye. His grandmother tells him he should be in bed. He gives the cat back to her while his grandmother lectures them, telling her to leave him alone. He asks Mara to excuse her. Mara says an important person is there. Grandma says she will get neighbors to get rid of her. Mara says her clients are educated people. The grandfather (Gennaro Di Gregorio) comes out. Mara is angry at the annoying woman, and she follows Umberto into the house and calls in the grandfather.
Mara answers the door, and Augusto comes back in with flowers. He says he smells gas, and she complains about the old woman. She wants to take care of the young man. She says she is making her life miserable. She was talking to him about serious things. He tells her not to worry about gossip. She works in the kitchen while he tries to love her. She washes dishes and hands them to him to dry them. She says she will buy the apartment. He wants to make love and suggests turning out all the lights. He goes and puts music on. She sits at the kitchen table and says she has to write. She thinks while he dances. He shows his leg, and she tells him to turn on the lights.
Next door Umberto hears their music, and his grandmother calls him.
Augusto complains that Mara is never in the mood. She tells him to sit down and behave. He says she is taking advantage of him. She is not worth it. He will go to Bologna. He gets his hat, says goodbye, and goes out.
At night Augusto is sitting on a bench by the road.
At the door in a white suit Augusto is kneeling before Mara, asking her to forgive him. He says he was watching her windows. He left with a hooker but swears nothing happened. She says they have a job too. She tells him to get up, and he comes in and closes the door. He embraces her and says he only has an hour because he has to see his secretary. She says okay and starts to unbutton her dress. He wants to get wild and see her dressed in nothing. She answers the phone and talks with Daniel. She promises to vote for someone and hangs up. He helps her undo the dress. She looks out the window and sees Umberto in a suit, calling to him. Augusto gets angry and closes the curtain. They sit on the bed, but she gets up to answer the door. She sees it is the grandma and tells him. It rings again, and she asks who it is. She opens the door a little, and the grandma says she needs to talk to her for a minute. She starts to cry, and Mara lets her in. The grandma says it is over because she destroyed their family. She asks Mara to lower her head. The grandma says he took off his robe. Mara tries to calm her down and asks Augusto to help. They help her to the living room, and she sits down. He gives her a drink. Mara says the worst is over and suggests he go now. Mara tells the grandma that she can tell Umberto the truth. Mara says she would like to have a son. She says she will take a vow. She promises that if he returns to the seminary, she will stay one week without … She will make an altar and pray every day. The grandma says she is blessed. Mara says it is a sacrifice for her, and she may lose 200,000. The grandma asks how much she makes, and she says she could make more; but if she does not like the guy, she sends him away.
Augusto is sitting on the bed waiting and looks at the cat which goes away. He answers the phone and says she is not there. He goes back to the living-room and starts to leave; but Mara tells him no. Mara says she never had grandparents. Augusto says goodbye and goes out. Mara asks the grandma where she is from.
In a store Mara buys some candles, and she sees Umberto standing by the window looking in. He comes in and says he was passing by. She says he would look good in a white shirt. He asks if she made an agreement with his grandmother. Mara says she is an angel. Mara says she has a mission with her Saint Maurillo. She tells him to try on the shirt. Umberto leaves in a hurry.
Augusto comes in singing and prepares the apartment. He finds Mara on the bed. She stands up, and he jumps on the bed. He sees the grandmother and closes the blinds. Mara opens them, and the grandma says Umberto is crazy. Mara has Augusto help her across and goes into their apartment where Umberto is struggling with his grandfather. Mara says his grandmother told the truth. Mara says he will have everything he needs at the seminary. Umberto tries to get a suitcase away from his grandfather. Mara calls to Augusto, and he comes over. He sees them and takes away the suitcase. They calm down, and he sits down. Mara offers to take him to the station in Augusto’s car. Umberto cries, and Mara tries to comfort him. The grandfather gets the seminary clothes for Umberto, and Augusto and Mara go back to her apartment.
From there they see Umberto dressed for seminary get on a bus. Mara kisses Augusto, and he hugs her. They dance on the porch. He picks her up and carries her to the bed. She gets up and lets down her hair. He kisses her, and she tells him to stop screaming. She is laughing and puts on a romantic record. She begins taking off her clothes slowly as he sits on the bed and watches. As she starts to remove her bra, she stops and realizes that she cannot do this because she made a vow. He is frustrated and hits his head on the door. She says a week will pass quickly, and then everything will be nice. He puts on his coat. She offers to make coffee, but he removes his tie and goes out. She asks if he wants her to break her vow. He says she could have made it a month later. He hears the phone and runs to answer it. He talks to Bologna and tells his father he is coming back tonight. He says he bribed them to finish everything he had to do. Mara is lighting her candles. He hangs up and says he is leaving. She asks him to stay, and they sit on the bed and pray.
These three comedies show the importance of love-making in the lives of these Italian families. The poor get children; the rich are distracted by money; and a beautiful woman feels a spiritual calling to help a young man persevere in his religious life.