A young honeymooning couple are lured away to a seaside resort by a high-society sleazeball, who has plans to seduce the girl, while at the same time her hubby in desperation stakes all his money on the roulette wheels...展开.
"Rotaie" is a late silent film by the great Mario Camerini and is one of the most important Italian movies of that period. It came out in 1929, wholly silent, then with an evocative musical soundtrack added in 1931, composed by Marcello Lattes.
The story is of two young lovers, very poor and on the brink of suicide, who come into a bit of temporary good luck. They find a wallet lost in a train station. It is filled with money. The man it belonged to has hopped a train, and returning it would be difficult (no ID perhaps?) The two unnamed lovers, played by Kathe von Nagy and Maurizio d'Ancora, compulsively hop a train themselves, and the rails ('rotaie') deliver them to two thrilling weeks of high living, high dining, and high gambling in a casino.
The film's style is that of a fast-paced expressionistic work, no doubt influenced by the German cinema of the 1920s, particularly that of F. W. Murnau, whose use of tracking shots is imitated here, as is the lighting of that German master.
There are also hints here of Murnau's 1928 American film "Sunrise," and the movie has a similar progression of ascent to joy, turmoil followed by loss, disaster, and finally rebirth. As "Sunrise" has its temptress, here there is a tempter in the person of seducer Jacques Mercier (played Daniele Crespi) who tries to have sex with the woman.
The hedonistic life comes to an abrupt end. Lucky at finding a wallet, the man is less lucky at casino gambling. All is lost. The rails bring the couple back to Rome. The man gets a job in a Chaplin's-"Modern Times" factory. All shall be happy and reasonable henceforward.
The lead performers are both excellent. For the role of the woman, Camerini considered the German Brigitte Helm (of Lang's "Metropolis.") Maurizio D'Ancora, who plays the guy, clearly had no failure of luck later on in life. He became a multi-millionaire as president of the Gucci Corporation.