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Fernando Di Leo
Lee J. Cobb,
Nice, small scale romantic comedy, already offering an appealing star couple and many of the features of later Italian Realism.
Dismissed as "Signor Biciclette" by the perfume shop girls, cloth cap mechanic Vittorio borrows the car he's repairing at the garage and collects the appealing Lia Franca for a run, ending at the riverside cafe, where the old couple have put a coin in the proto juke boy, which plays "Love's last Word Is Spoken," for Vittorio and Lia to dance but their idyllic afternoon is disturbed by the boss' wife who has spotted the car and sees this as a lift home, stranding Lia.
Calamities and misunderstanding accumulate, with the leads finally working at a Milanese Industrial Fair. This generates a rather winning ending to this advanced, agreeable, light weight.
The film more than stands comparison with contemporary product (eg. the films of René Clair,) shooting material in real locations, which would have been done in a studio in Hollywood or Paris, and foregrounding working class characters, anticipating the neo realist films. There's even an unemployment sub-plot.
De Sica is billed under Franca, the lead of RESURRECTIO, the first Italian sound film. It's probably his first talkie and he's perfectly relaxed and natural. Designer Medin will accompany him on his career.
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