The Inheritance (1976) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

On the big screen, this movie was probably an exquisite sensual feast. Even though I have seen the movie, I would buy a DVD right now, if there was a widescreen version properly mastered from a good source medium.

There isn't. The version available now is a 4:3 pan&scanned version, and it was poorly and hastily created - some scenes have someone's left ear and someone else's right ear as the only foreground objects on the screen. many scenes seem too dark, and the colors have dimmed with age. My suspicion is that none of these problems would be found in the original prints. It seems to be that they simply took an old pan-n-scan version and mastered a DVD from it.

Not only that, but this is a 105 minute DVD, and it was originally a 121 minute movie! Perhaps Rosemary Woods did the DVD mastering.

My only other quibble, besides the poor transfer masking as a DVD, is the fact that it is one of Italy's famous Spaghetti Movies, where each member of the multinational cast speaks in his native tongue and everything is post-dubbed as appropriate for the market. Thus, the English-speaking Quinn is not dubbed, but everyone else is, which can seem distracting.  


Dominique Sanda showed her body, including frontals, in several sex scenes with three different men.

Fabio Testi does some minor nudity, but no frontal.

If you watched it in Italian, you would hear the Italian actors speaking on the original soundtrack, but Quinn and Sanda would be dubbed. In French, you'd hear Sanda's original voice, everyone else would be dubbed. This was pretty much the way the Italians made films for international distribution, including the Sergio Leone Westerns pictures that made Clint Eastwood an icon. In order to be commercially viable, Italian filmmakers could not ignore the large film markets in France, Canada, and the USA, so they created films with Anthony Quinn and Clint Eastwood where Americans could hear these recognizable stars talking in their own voices, making the entire project appear to be an English-language film. 

By the way, Elya told me that she saw many of these Italian pictures in Russia as well. The Italians had apparently brought international distribution to a level of absolute mastery! Elya had never seen this particular one, but her family loved The Con Artists, another one with Anthony Quinn.

The dubbing is a minor issue. I will recommend the picture to you if they bring out a new DVD master with a widescreen version and all 121 minutes intact. I enjoyed the movie itself.

My best guess is that the original film is beautiful and fun to watch

  • lovely period settings and costumes - Rome in the 1880's
  • lots of nudity from Dominique Sanda
  • an erotic tale of family intrigue with some unexpected twists

DVD info from Amazon.

  • no widescreen

  • no meaningful features

Anthony Quinn plays a family patriarch who is alienated from his three children. They, in turn, don't get along with each other. Dominique Sanda at first seems to be a simple convent girl who marries Quinn's disinherited younger son, but turns out to have masterminded a long range plot to bring the family back together in the proper alignment so that she can get all of the money when Quinn dies.

She marries one son, seduces the other, and then uses her aggrandized power to get in the father's good graces. She then seduces ol' Zorba himself, and gets him to name her as his sole heir.

There is a surprise ending as well. 

The Critics Vote

  • Maltin 2.5/4.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 6.1, 
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, I think this film is a B-, but not in this version, which is in the C's somewhere..

Return to the Movie House home page