Heath Ledger brings the larger-than-life rogue Casanova to life in 18th Century Venice, complete with gondolas, piazzas and masquerades. Following the scandalously funny exploits of the iconic anti-hero as he breaks hearts and even destroys a few marriages, the rich environment of Venice seeps in, bringing with it some fantastic glimpses of period life as well as some commedia costumes popular at the time. When the original ladies’ man meets a woman who is actually not interested in him, he is challenged to go beyond surface level and reveal his true self—the one without a mask.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Take a chance to re-examine the pan-ultimate cult classic and you can see that almost all of the characters line up with commedia dell’arte stock characters: Brad and Janet play the Lovers, Columbia plays the Colombina, Riff Raff is the hunchbacked Pulcinella, the Narrator acts as the Doctor, and Frankie doubles up as a Pantalone/Captain character. The question still remains: where does Dr. Frank-N-Furter fit in? The zany film that has defined generations turns out to have more behind it than the creation of a simple pulp movie.
Duck Soup (1933)
The classic comedians The Marx Brothers developed a style of physical comedy with origins deeply rooted in commedia dell’arte. In Duck Soup, often considered one of their funniest and most popular films, the influence of the slap-stick comedy takes over as two spies try to overthrow the new dictator of the mythical land of Freedonia after he insults the citizens living there. With their signature wacky and satirical tone, this proves to be one of the Brothers best films.