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Variety Lights (1950)
"Luci del varietà" (original title)

7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 1,635 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 17 critic

A beautiful but ambitious young woman joins a traveling troupe of third-rate vaudevillians and inadvertently causes jealousy and emotional crises.

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(screenplay), (story), 3 more credits »
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Title: Variety Lights (1950)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Peppino De Filippo ...
Carla Del Poggio ...
...
John Kitzmiller ...
Trumpet player Johnny
Dante Maggio ...
Remo
Checco Durante ...
Theater Owner
Gina Mascetti ...
Valeria del Sole
Giulio Calì ...
Magician Edison Will
Silvio Bagolini ...
Bruno Antonini
Giacomo Furia ...
Duke
Mario De Angelis ...
Maestro
Vanja Orico ...
Moema - brazilian singer
Enrico Piergentili ...
Melina's Father
Renato Malavasi ...
Hotelkeeper
Joseph Falletta ...
Pistolero Bill (as Joe Falletta)
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Storyline

When a young woman of beauty and talent joins a provincial vaudeville troupe, they're suddenly playing to packed houses, and their aging comic Checco Dalmonte gets big ideas. He falls in love with the ingenue, Liliana, and ignores his companion of several years, Melina Amour. (She wants to marry Checco and she's saving to open a deli.) Also, believing he can be an impresario, he hires other actors and begins rehearsal for a revue that will star Liliana and himself. Liliana admires Checco, but she's being squired around town by Adelmo Conti, the assistant to the region's biggest impresario. Can Checco's new troupe hold onto Liliana, and how will Melina fare? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Music | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

6 December 1950 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

The Lights of Variety  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first film directed by Federico Fellini. See more »

Quotes

Checco Dal Monte: [to Lily] I'm an artist. So are you. You've got spunk, spunk! You'll see. You and I together, always! I will be the performer. I don't need anyone. I will form the company. I promise you.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Cinecittà: La casa di F. Fellini (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

Fascinating foreshadowing of Fellini to come
14 August 2003 | by (Dongshih, Taiwan) – See all my reviews

I just saw this for the first time, after sampling much of Fellini's later work over many years.

The most surprising thing to me was the sense that Variety Lights (VL) foreshadows Fellini's later "indulgent" work. Here, he bathes the viewer with genuinely warm, almost disconnected bits of life in all its spendor. The fine editing makes it all work; I laughed and sighed out loud through much of this movie, and the first 10 minutes hooked me. A little later in his career, Fellini (with help from other fine story people) showcased straight-up storytelling in La Strada and Cabiria. Subsequent to that, he began exploring "story space" in alinear, character-focused ways, from La Dolce Vita and beyond.

The point of all of this is to express my surprise that Fellini appears to have ended his career somewhat as he started it. VL is almost a "throwback" to the directions he took later in abandoning more traditional storytelling methods. Maybe it'd be better to put it this way: When he began diverging from a more conventional narrative style, he was actually taking a step *back* to the style we see in VL. A very good comparison is against his "Fred and Ginger," which explores story space in a studiedly chaotic way, then bowls you over by tying things together with a profoundly touching moment at the end. In "Fred and Ginger," Fellini gracefully brings together his old and new styles. In VL, he seems to bring these together before the new even happened!

The tremendous abilities of the actors and actresses are delightful in VL. Something conspicuous in post 8-1/2 Fellini is the purposeful lack of traditional acting craft; Fellini talked about this repeatedly in interviews. In VL (as in La Strada and Cabiria), Fellini shows that he was perfectly capable of directing actors who are plying their skills.

Because VL seems to cover the strengths of most of Fellini's career, it is a very fine example of the best he could do. Check it out.


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