A movie of cartoon-like mass formations, singing urchins, and operatic outbursts.
Eric Hynes, Time Out New York
Few things renew one's faith in the moving image more than an unbridled Gina Lollobrigida cavorting in the Adriatic Sea with a flock of sheep.
Dave Kehr, Film Comment Magazine
'The result, of course, is not one good shot in two hours of film,' Godard wrote, somewhat unjustly. There is at least one good shot near the beginning.
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
It's Lollobrigida who owns the film. Her sex appeal and power cannot be underestimated,
James Verniere, Boston Herald
A rare hybrid well worth a film lover's time, "The Law" (1959) is a black-and-white, French-language film with a Sicilian seaside setting, a stellar, largely Italian cast and a distinct, nonindigenous Tennessee Williams flavor.
Robin Clifford, Reeling Reviews
It was hard for director Dassin to miss the mark during his illustrious career and...he hit the bull's eye with The Law.
Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews
...seems to have gone a little crazy in the heat, in a good way...an oddity, but one with many pleasures.
Ed Scheid, Boxoffice Magazine
Shooting in black and white, Dassin effectively uses shadows in the indoor scenes to emphasize the stiflingly claustrophobic atmosphere of the town, this contrasts with the sunny open outdoors that represent freedom from the town's oppressiveness.
Kent Turner, Film-Forward.com
Elegant and sultry, Melina Mercouri transcends the slightly sordid material.
The release notes state that the role of Marietta (Lollobrigida) was greatly expanded at the producer's request. The spitfire, Lollbrigida, dominates this film, so it's hard to imagine her role diminished.
"The Law" starts with one of the citizens of a small fishing village in Italy wondering why a bird does not fly far away when it has the chance. Since it only makes it as far as the window of Lucrezia(Melina Mercouri), we know it is no idiot. Nearby, the prisoners in the… More "The Law" starts with one of the citizens of a small fishing village in Italy wondering why a bird does not fly far away when it has the chance. Since it only makes it as far as the window of Lucrezia(Melina Mercouri), we know it is no idiot. Nearby, the prisoners in the jail can hear Marietta(Gina Lollobrigida) sing. Her family works for Don Cesare(Pierre Brasseur) while she tries to escapes the old man's attentions and refuses to be a servant, even to Enrico(Marcello Mastroianni), the new agronomist in town who she is interested in eventual marriage with. In the meantime, she occupies her time with getting the kids to steal a police motorbike(geez, they work quickly) which Matteo Brigante(Yves Montand) disapproves of.
Directed by Jules Dassin, "The Law" is a delightfully wicked dissection of the power structure of a small town, framed by a sadistic drinking game, while still maintaining sympathy for most of the characters. Since leaving may not be an option, what's the best one can do if one stays? The movie is also helped by the charms of Gina Lollobrigida who...I just lost my train of thought. Where was I? Now, I remember. The question is who is really in charge? The police? The criminals? Or the landowner? Regardless, progress is on the way in the person of the agronomist who is about to change the way things have been done for centuries, starting with the draining of the marshes to prevent malaria, which Don Cesare opposes because he quite likes them the way they are. And then there are the women who while technically under the thumbs of the men, seek to run their own lives and create their own rules.