Cast & Crew
Pasquale Festa Campanile
In 18th-century Rome, Meo sets out to save his family's failing chamber pot business by selling his younger brother to the Vatican choir, a common practice among impoverished Italian families during the vogue of the male soprano (castrato) voice. The brother escapes, and Meo is trapped into taking his place, but he bribes the surgeon not to perform the castration. Before joining the training program given castrated recruits, he talks his girl friend, Teresa, into submitting to him without benefit of clergy. Frustrated and unhappy in his hoax, Meo soon discovers that his position allows him entry into the homes of the wealthy and aristocratic. Since he is considered harmless by the husbands, Meo proceeds to take full advantage of the situation with their wives. Ultimately, Meo once again encounters Teresa, now the wife of an octogenarian nobleman. She becomes pregnant, and her husband threatens to have Meo beheaded if it is found that he is a castrate in name only. Resignedly, Meo departs for the conservatory to undergo the fatal operation, as his brothers follow in hot pursuit to rescue him. [In the original ending, Meo undergoes the operation rather than face beheading.]
Released in Italy in 1964 under the title Le voci bianche; running time: 100 min. Alternative Italian title: I castrati. Paris opening: August 1965 as Le sexe des anges. Also known as Under Cover Rogue.