It’s remarkable that this 1968 Italian comedy, directed by Mario Monicelli, was partly filmed in Sheffield. The Girl with the Pistol, or La Ragazza Con La Pistola, received an Oscar nomination for best foreign film as well as receiving critical praise.
It starred Monica Viti, Carlo Giuffre, Stanley Baker, Corin Redgrave and Anthony Booth (Tony Blair’s father-in-law).
The wry comedy finds the beautiful Assunta (Monica Vitti) being kidnapped by Vincento (Carlo Giuffre) and taken to his remote home in the country. He plans to “dishonour her” and by doing so, win her hand in marriage.
In a twist of events, she becomes too domineering and Vincenzo flees, but she resolutely travels to Edinburgh, Sheffield, Bath, and London seeking revenge, but finds an Englishman more to her liking.
According to British Women’s Cinema (by Melanie Bell and Melanie Williams), “Assunta continues her journey of revenge to Sheffield. A bus ride, highlighting the English landscape takes her there. On a street, she encounters a young man, John (Anthony Booth) who, she notices ‘has Italian shoes’, and she enlists him in her quest for vengeance.”
Scenes in Sheffield were shot at Granville Street, one scene overlooking Sheaf Street and Ponds Forge Works, Park Hill, Neepsend, Manor Lane, Attercliffe and at Steel, Peach & Tozer’s factory, Templeborough, in Rotherham.
According to one fanzine, “La Ragazza con la Pistola may have been nominated for an Academy Award, but is mainly interesting for Monica Vitti prancing around Edinburgh and Sheffield.”
The film was supported by a slightly psychedelic soundtrack by Peppino de Luca.