Tragicomedy telling of the trials and tribulations of a troupe of variety show artists.




(screenplay), (screenplay) | 6 more credits »


Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A motley quintet of inept small-time thieves bungle the burglary of a local pawnshop in this Italian farce.

Director: Mario Monicelli
Stars: Vittorio Gassman, Marcello Mastroianni, Renato Salvatori
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A British wartime aviator who cheats death must argue for his life before a celestial court.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: David Niven, Kim Hunter, Robert Coote
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

An entomologist on vacation is trapped by local villagers into living with a woman whose life task is shoveling sand for them.

Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara
Stars: Eiji Okada, Kyôko Kishida, Hiroko Itô
Interiors (1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Three sisters find their lives spinning out of control in the wake of their parents' sudden, unexpected divorce.

Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Diane Keaton, Geraldine Page, Kristin Griffith
The Suitor (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Pierre is a shy man whose sole focus in life is studying astrology in solitude, which is often difficult since he still lives at and studies in his parent's house. His parent's would rather... See full summary »

Director: Pierre Étaix
Stars: France Arnel, Pierre Étaix, Laurence Lignières
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Angelo, a glass-blower from Murano, and Georgia Maglia, the pretty daughter of a fallen fascist magistrate, are chosen to be the stand-ins for the stars of a film version of "Romeo and ... See full summary »

Director: André Cayatte
Stars: Serge Reggiani, Anouk Aimée, Pierre Brasseur
Mon Oncle (1958)
Certificate: Passed Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Monsieur Hulot visits the technology-driven world of his sister, brother-in-law, and nephew, but he can't quite fit into the surroundings.

Director: Jacques Tati
Stars: Jacques Tati, Jean-Pierre Zola, Adrienne Servantie
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An industrialist has his wife tailed because he secretly hopes she is betraying him so that he can ask for a divorce and marry the model he's fallen in love with. This leads to a series of ... See full summary »

Directors: Mario Monicelli, Steno
Stars: Gina Lollobrigida, May Britt, Pierre Cressoy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Director: Mario Monicelli
Stars: Vittorio De Sica, Lorella De Luca, Riccardo Garrone
Sweet Bean (2015)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The manager of a pancake stall finds himself confronted with an odd but sympathetic elderly woman looking for work. A taste of her homemade bean jelly convinces him to hire her, which ... See full summary »

Director: Naomi Kawase
Stars: Kirin Kiki, Masatoshi Nagase, Kyara Uchida
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Primary school teacher Mr. Mombelli, nevertheless satisfied with his life, is driven by his wife to resign and starting a new activity. He invest all his goodwill setting up a footwear ... See full summary »

Director: Elio Petri
Stars: Alberto Sordi, Claire Bloom, Vito De Taranto
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
Director: Oreste Biancoli
Stars: Marcello Mastroianni, Marina Vlady, Camillo Pilotto


Cast overview:
Nino Martoni
Margherita 'Rita Buton'
Tamara Lees ...
Giovanni Barrella ...
L'impresario (as Gianni Barrella)
Bruno Corelli ...
Dedè Moreno, il primo ballerino
Enzo Furlai ...
Boselli (as Enzo Furlai-Furlanetto)
Enzo Maggio ...
Michele Malaspina ...
Il commendatore Cantelli
Pasquale Misiano
Eduardo Passarelli
Mario Russo
Jubal Schembri
Nyta Dover ...
Lucy d'Astrid
Carlo Danesi, fidanzato di Franca (as Marcello Mastrojanni)


Tragicomedy telling of the trials and tribulations of a troupe of variety show artists.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

tour | italy | entertainer | See All (3) »


Comedy | Drama





Release Date:

12 March 1954 (Portugal)  »

Also Known As:

A Dog's Life  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Italian censorship visa #8588 delivered on 19 October 1950. See more »


Edited into Marcello, una vita dolce (2006) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A dog's life...for performers in provincial theatres.
20 May 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

(Spoilers included) I would characterize this film as a delightful discovery for me. It is a comedy-drama about a troupe of third-string variety-act performers who tour Italy's provinces putting on shows in decrepit movie theatres.

It bears a great deal of resemblance to VARIETY LIGHTS, Fellini's first film (co-directed by Alberto Lattuada), which was made around the same time. The troupe leader, as well as singer of comedic songs, is Nino Martoni (Aldo Fabrizi) who must use every resource available to him to have his company stay afloat. And times are tough…insufficient box office, mounting company debts, no money to pay performers, train fares, hotels, restaurants.

Much of the film involves the lives of three of the women performers. There's Franca (Tamara Lees) who is engaged to Carlo (Marcello Mastroianni in one of his earliest appearances). She leaves him to attempt to find fame and fortune in show business. There's Vera (Delia Scala) who finds true love during the course of the movie, and Margherita (Gina Lollobrigida) who has show business in her blood, is devoted to Martoni during good times and bad, and ends up by film's end with a first rate company. Franca, on the other hand, in marrying a rich industrialist for his money, and realizing she has lost her true love in the process, commits suicide by jumping out a window.

The cast is an incredibly good array of the Italian screen's top performers. Fabrizi's weaselly manner is a wonder to behold, and his scene with a hotel manager unwilling to accept a check in payment for the troupe's stay is a little masterpiece. Nino Rota did the nice musical score as well as providing some of the song numbers, along with Fabrizi and Mario Ruccione. They have real appeal.

Directed by Mario Monicelli and Steno (Stefano Vanzina), both major directors of comedy for many decades to follow, the movie deserves to be resurrected and shown in "commedia all'italiana" programs.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss Vita da cani (1950) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: