Riccardo Molteni (mohl-TEH-nee), a screenwriter. When he was an impoverished theater critic, Molteni lived happily with his wife, Emilia, although he always yearned to do more for her. When a film producer named Battista hires him to write a screenplay, he does so and is a success. From the moment he begins his new career and acquires more money, however, Emilia gradually turns away from him and rejects him. Insecure and puzzled by Emilia’s cold behavior, Riccardo is driven frantic by her rejection. He seeks ways to recapture her love and return to the old days when they were happy. He does not give up his screenwriting or his affluence and loses Emilia.
Emilia Molteni, Riccardo’s wife, a former typist. A beautiful young woman, she was content when she and Riccardo lived simply and together in spirit. She secretly comes to resent Riccardo’s new job, their new apartment, and his extravagance, but she refuses to admit that her feelings have changed and continues to deny her indifference to him, even though it makes him unhappy and insanely jealous. Emilia is unable to adapt to the new level of affluence that Riccardo has earned for her.
Signor Battista, the film producer who gives Riccardo his first job as a screenwriter. Battista is a middle-aged man, short and sometimes called “the big ape.” He has...
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