Friday, 4 March 2011

11. La vostra Rita / Non stuzzicate la zanzara

L A   V O S T R A   R I T A –  S-10

1. La zanzara [Wertmüller-Gaspari-Marrocchi-Lunati] w/ Luis Enriquez; Alessandroni
2. I tre porcellini [Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?] Frank Churchill-Ann Ronell; v.: Misselvia
3. Col chicco [Castellano-Pipolo-Pisano] w/ Franco Pisano; Alessandroni's singers
4. Mamma dammi la panna [I saw Linda yesterday] Dick Lee-A. Reynolds; Ital.wds.: Bonicatti
5. Siam’ tutti per uno [Wertmüller-Rota] Enriquez e il Coro di Voci Bianche diretto da Renata Cortiglione
6. Io cerco la Titina [Daniderf-Frati] Franco Pisano e orchestra; I Cantori Moderni di Alessandroni

1. Perchè due non fa tre [Amurri-Marchetti] w/ Gianni Marchetti; Alessandroni's Modern Singers
2. Cam cam cammello [Migliacci-Gianni Meccia] w/ Luis Enriquez; Alessandroni's Singers
3. Gian Burrasca [Libertà] Lina Wertmüller-Nino Rota Luis Enriquez e orchestra
4. Con un poco di zucchero [A spoonful of sugar] R.M.Sherman-R.B.Sherman; Amurri-Pertitas
5. Orazi e Curiazi [Carlo Rossi-Marrocchi-Lunati] w/ Ruggero Cini; 4+4 di Nora Orlandi
6. Il bersagliere [Carlo Rossi-Marrocchi-Lunati] with The Talismen; 4+4 di Nora Orlandi

Since the winter of 1964-1965 when Rita played the role of a boy in ‘Il giornalino di Gian Burrasca’ [John Hurricane’s diary] she becamethe darling of Italian children.  She, who started as a teen-age idolpaid more and more attention to the children’s market.  That was both good and bad.  Good in the sense that she’d expanded her public and bad in the sense that catering to both children and teen-agers may entail in dangerous decisions that may not satisfy either camp  In other words, you cannot have the cake and eat it too.  In ‘Stasera Rita, she had a slot where she’d sing a couple of songs for the kids [bambini] before they went to bed.  That’s exactly when the ‘twilight zone’ between teens and children started to become blurred.

From 1966 on the Italian ‘beat scene’ – singers and bands who identified themselves with British rock – grew more and more apart from the ‘old rock’n’ballad’ of the recent past.  That’s when Rita’s career started making water.  She was divided between those two demographics.  She was not lost yet.  That only happened when she left RCA for Ricordi.  That’s when the train derailed.

‘La Vostra Rita’ is not a bad album.  There are some pretty good songs in it even if some are ‘repeats’ or left-overs from earlier media.

‘LA ZANZARA’ – see ‘Rita, o Mosquito’ for comments.

‘I TRE PORCELLINI’ – 'Who's afraid of the big, bad wolf?' - A superb recording with a piano that reminds the best productions from Motown.


‘MAMMA DAMMI LA PANNA’ –  ‘I saw Linda yesterday’ – i

‘SIAM’ TUTTI PER UNO’ – Left-over from ‘Gian Burrasca’.  It never made into the original album.

‘IO CERCO LA TITINA’ –  This is a different version from that [more simple]

‘PERCHÈ DUE NON FA TRE’ –  Good lyrics expounding the injustices committed by the adults against children in general.  It could have easily become an anthem for them.  It had been B-side to ‘La zanzara’ but it didn’t make it into the movie.

‘CAM CAM CAMMELLO’ – Good yarn tells the story of

‘GIAN BURRASCA' ['LIBERTÀ’] – This is also a ‘left-over’ from ‘Gian Burrasca’.  Actually it is the theme-song from the series and here it is shown with a different name [Libertà].  This is a mystery to me... there's no explanation whatsover for such a thing!  It is exactly the same song with a different title. 

‘CON UN POCO DI ZUCCHERO’‘A spoonful of sugar’ –  Second song from ‘Mary Poppins’ but this time a much better one, a lovely melody acompanied here by Ruggero Cini and his band plus 4+4 di Nora Orlandi.

‘ORAZI E CURIAZI’ – see ‘Stasera Rita’ for comments – Good song but it had already been released before.

‘IL BERSAGLIERE’The Special Trooper [or something close to that]  -  This is a special unit of the Italian Army specialized in sharp shooting who moves around in high-powered motorcycles.  As in ‘Si fossi un uomo’ [If I were a boy] Rita starts with a estatement like: ‘If I were born a male I would have become a Bersagliere’. Later in the song she laments being a woman:  ‘What’s the matter if I’m all rough’n’ready and vivacious?  I only regret being a woman and you know why!’ ['solo mi dispiace che sono donna e sai perchè’].  This is the second time Rita appeals to the trans-gender kind... and that in 1967 which is far ahead of her time.

‘Il bersagliere’ is accompanied by The Talismen, the British band that was a fixture in ‘Stasera Rita’, which means this song was to be in the ‘Stasera’ album but was dropped out.


Never released: March 1967

1. Questo nostro amore [Wertmüller-Enriquez] long version
2. La Svizzera [Wertmüller-Canfora]
3. Non è difficile fare lo Shake [Wertmüller-Canfora] Rita & Giulietta Masina
4. Una notte intera [Eine ganze Nacht] Loose-Last- Wertmüller-Misselvia
5. Perchè due non fa tre [Amurri-Marchetti] w/ Gianni Marchetti; Alessandroni
6. Gira gira [Reach out I’ll be there] Holland-Dozier-Holland-Cassia
7. Tu guardi lei [Wertmüller-Canfora]

1. Non ci sto [Wertmüller-Canfora] Rita & Giancalo Giannini
2. Sempre più su [Melfa-Morina]
3. Bye bye baby [Jules Styne-Leo Robin]
4. Balletto degli ombrelli [Bruno Canfora]
5. The birth of the blues  [DeSylva-Brown-Henderson]
6. Gimme some lovin’ [Steve Winwood]
7. Questo nostro amore Wertmüller-Enriquez] Una notte intera
[Loose-Last-Wertmüller-Misselvia] instrumental

The sequel to ‘La zanzara’ was shot six months later in the winter of 1966-1967.  The sound track  has never been released in any shape or form.  That is, until the digital age changed all the previous rules and the super-dupper-recording-company-cartels were brought down to their knees and a new, more democratic media spelled the end of their fiefdom.

This ‘Non stuzzicate la zanzara’ [Don’t play with the mosquito] sound-track came out in CD-format some time around 2006.  It was assembled and manufactured by some unidentified citizen in Italy and it contains the main songs from the flick.  The musical numbers performed by Giuletta Masina, unfortunately, were not included except ‘Non è difficile fare lo shake’ that she shares with Pavone.

In Brazil, ‘Non stuzzicate la zanzara’ [‘Não brinque com o mosquito’] wasn’t as popular as the first ‘Zanzara’ for reasons unkwnown to us, mere mortals.  There was no proper advertising. Many Brazilian fans didn’t even get a chance to see it because they didn’t know in advance about its release.  It ran for a few weeks only, in a limited number of movie-houses and then it was dead and gone.  The year was 1968, which was a dark year in Brazil’s recent history with a vicious military dictatorship turning the screws on its citizens.  Those were not happy times in Latin America and I still can’t help but associate ‘Non stuzzicate...’ with that dark period.  Actually ‘Zanzara I’ was a sunny film, shot in glorious summer whereas ‘Zanzara II’ was a dark one shot in the winter and having a military academy as backdrop.

As I said before, the ‘Stuzzicate’ plot is not as good as that of ‘Zanzara’, but its musical numbers and choreography are more glamorous and spetacular, especially the beneficial show put up at the end of the film which contains maybe the best filmed numbers in Pavone’s career.

QUESTO NOSTRO AMORE’ – This love of ours – long version – [see ‘Ci vuole poco...’] – I remember listening to ‘Questo nostro amore’ for the first time when the single came out in Italy in early 1967.  My friend Silvia received [in the mail]  the 45 rpm from her Italian pen-pal and she rang me up to tell me she had a special treat for me next Saturday afternoon when I usually visited her.  As before when she’d received ‘Qui ritornerà’ and ‘Gian Burrasca’, she made a preliminary speech before putting the stylus to the vynil.  This time she said she thought Rita had recorded her most beautiful song ever.  As I listened to the 12-guitar introduction and its progressive organ building up to an exploding chorus, I had to agree with Silvia that was the most beautiful song Rita had ever recorded.  My first impression was of a quasi-religious solemnity.  Maybe because of the organ accompaniment that reminds something akin to a wedding ceremony. This song has never been released in Brazil.  At least not until the digital revolution took hold.  I noticed that a lot of Pavone fans has it as his/her favourite song.  It was probably written especially for the sequel because it is played at the beginning as well as at the end.  I still cherish it as one of the best tracks recorded by Pavone even though it is not my favourite of all time.

‘LA SVIZZERA’ –  Switzerland –  Such an irritating song only serves to prove that geniuses like Wertmüller and Canfora can also write ‘bombs’. Rita must have at least three songs where she shouts ‘Eine, Zwei, Drei!’.  I dread when I hear the sounds of military marching bands. This is one of my all-time least favourite songs recorded by her. These reviews will not cover ‘La Feldmarescialla’, the last of the flicks Rita shot in that period, because I think it is hideous. Well, 'La Svizzera’ falls under that dreadful ‘category’.  Although I dislike the song I have to admit the musical number is not bad, with Rita prancing around with Swiss guards marching to ‘Ein, Zwei, Drei'. God forbid me!

‘NON È DIFFICILE FARE LO SHAKE’It is not difficul to dance the Shake – This is one of the best musical numbers in the film. Rita sings and dances with Giulietta Masina.  I think Wertmüller was in awe of Masina, such a legend of the Italian and world cinema.  Giulietta  is fantastic in whatever she does... even when she dances the Shake!

‘UNA NOTTE INTERA’  [Eine ganze Nacht] – There’s nothing really special about this ballad.  It’s nice though.  Written by band-leader James Last with German words by Günter Loose, the same lyricist who did most of the German-language material Rita recorded in Berlin in ’63 and '64. It is played in the film as a leit-motiv.

‘PERCHÈ DUE NON FA TRE’ – [see ‘La vostra Rita’] – It was B-side for ‘La Zanzara’ but never made it to the film.  So Wertmüller decided it would make it on the sequel.  It’s got good lyrics but not as good a melody.  It has to do with injustice practiced by grown-ups against children.

‘GIRA GIRA’ [Reach out I’ll be there] – [see ‘Ci vuole poco...’] – As I said before, well, it’s very difficult to top Detroit’s Four Tops, so I don’t think Rita should’ve ever contemplated recording this cover.  Rita sings double-tracked and tries very hard but one can never shirk the comparison between the two records.

‘TU GUARDI LEI’You stare at her – [see ‘Ci vuole poco...] – This is a winner!  Bruno Canfora exquisite melodies are a balsam for the ears.  Canfora’s arrangements are heavenly made.  ‘Tu guardi lei’ is number three in a trilogy with ‘Fortissimo’ and ‘Quanto sei antipatico’.  It was released only in Italy in the LP ‘Ci vuole poco...’. It never made it to Brazil or anywhere else.

‘NON CI STO’ – with Giancarlo Giannini – Giannini’s voice was cut from the ‘Rita, o mosquito’ sound-track album but here he sings with his own voice.

‘SEMPRE PIÙ SU’Higher and higher – As ‘Tu guardi lei’ is part of a trilogy; ‘Sempre più su’ is the ‘sequel’ of ‘Sul cucuzzolo’ [see RP’s first album].  The same subject matter: snow-peaked mountains and skiing.  As most of the film was shot during the 1966-1967 winter there is a lot of snow around.  The orchestral arrangement reminds one of Ray Conniff’s mixing of  male and female voices and low and high brass that was common in Edoardo Vianello’s records as

‘BYE BYE BABY’ – This is the first of various musical numbers Rita does magnificently at the final show in the film.  Wertmüller dropped the introduction Marilyn Monroe does in ‘Gentlemen prefer blondes’ and this time Rita does not impersonate the tragic blonde but cross-dresses as a black-boy with a bowler hat.

‘BALLETTO DEGLI OMBRELLI’Dance of the umbrellas – Rita’s still black-faced but now wearing a frock. This time she only dances to this beautiful Canfora tune.  The musical numbers were really well-rehearsed and lavishly done.  No expenses were withheld. Wertmüller’s intention was to bring Hollywood to Cinecittà and I guess she was successful in her mission. Rita was dancing extremely well at this phase of her life having acquired experience through her many TV shows under the guidance of Don Lurio, an Italian-american who left the US for Italy. If Rita were a North-american act she would most likely have ended in Las Vegas due to her being an all-round performer.  And an excellent one at such.

‘THE BIRTH OF THE BLUES’ – Rita’s in black face and in drag again. This time she impersonates the great Al Jolson and goes down Memory Lane to the times she was a nine-year old doing three shows a day impersonating the Jazz Singer in shows at cinemas in Turin in the 1950s.

‘GIMME SOME LOVIN’ – Fourth number Rita does black-faced. Maybe it’s because the Soul music was at its peak in the US around then.  This time she’s a modern black girl dancing with a huge chorus line that reminds those MGM musicals and one cannot help but see Diana Ross & the Supremes as models for the sequence.  That’s a show-stopper! Nothing better could come after this number except the happy ending with Pavone and Giannini living happy ever after and Lina Wertmüller going on to bigger and better things in the near future.

‘QUESTO NOSTRO AMORE’ / ‘UNA NOTTE INTERA’ – instumental – Beautiful combination of two lovely melodies signals the end of such a spetacular musical.  I wish the plot line would have been as good as the musical numbers.

This sleeve was 'invented' by the person who put the album together. 

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