The Priest’s Wife, released in 1971, stars Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni in this Italian/French farce/satire/drama, also features Venantino Venantini.
Upon discovering that her lover of 4 years was married with children during the entire time of their relationship, a suicidal Rock’n’Roll singer (Loren) reaches out to a help line, staffed by a priest (Mastroianni) whose kindness saves her. She falls in love with him, and he succumbs to her charms, setting her up as his mistress. The film offers a peek inside the life of the priesthood, as the priest struggles between the seduction of a woman he loves, and the seduction by the Church and its power. He accepts a promotion from priest to a Monsignor in Rome, giving up Loren, much as her former lover had done returning to his marriage and family. The director intimates that when it comes to the treatment of a by women, there is not a lot of difference between a priest and rock’n’roll stars.
Directed by Dino Risi, the screenplay was based on a story by Risi. Although declared a “flop” both critically and at the box office, redeeming features include the car demolition scene in the film’s introduction displaying fantastic stunt driving, and the luminosity of Loren’s beauty and portrayal of a woman betrayed by love.