The Scientific Cardplayer

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The Scientific Cardplayer
Lo Scopone Scientifico
Directed by Luigi Comencini
Produced by Dino De Laurentiis
Written by Rodolfo Sonego
Starring Alberto Sordi, Silvana Mangano, Bette Davis
Music by Piero Piccioni
Cinematography Giuseppe Ruzzolini
Edited by Nino Baragli
Release date
  • 1972 (1972)
Running time
115 minutes
Country Italy
Language Italian

The Scientific Cardplayer is the English language title of a 1972 Italian drama film directed by Luigi Comencini. The screenplay was written by Rodolfo Sonego.


An aging American millionairess journeys to Rome each year with her chauffeur George to play the card game scopone with destitute Peppino and his wife Antonia. The annual scenario remains unchanged: she donates the initial stakes so they can play, then ultimately wins the game, shattering the couple's dream of scoring a victory and improving their lot in life. Eventually their daughter Cleopatra seeks revenge on her parents' behalf.

Production notes[edit]

The film's Italian title is Lo scopone scientifico.

Bette Davis was in the midst of a three-week vacation at the health spa La Costa in Carlsbad, California when she received the script. On twenty-four-hour notice she flew to Rome for filming. It wasn't until the first day of shooting she learned the dialogue was to be recorded in Italian. Of her co-star she said, "My name for Albert Sordi was Albert Sordid. It was unforgivable of him to refuse to speak English with me, especially as he spoke very good English." [1]

This was the third on-screen pairing for Davis and Joseph Cotten. They previously co-starred in Beyond the Forest (1949) and Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964).

Principal cast[edit]

Principal production credits[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

TV Guide says, "One's enjoyment of this picture is correlated with one's understanding of scopa." [2]


  • 1973 David di Donatello Award for Best Actor (Alberto Sordi, winner)
  • 1973 David di Donatello Award for Best Actress (Silvana Mangano, winner)
  • 1973 Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists Nastro d'Argento for Best Supporting Actor (Mario Carotenuto, winner)

See also[edit]

Lo Scopone Scientifico at Italian Wikipedia


  1. ^ Mother Goddam by Whitney Stine, with a running commentary by Bette Davis, Hawthorn Books, 1974, pp. 333-34 (ISBN 0-8015-5184-6)
  2. ^ TV Guide review

External links[edit]