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The first two days of a marriage. Ivan, a punctilious clerk brings his virginal bride to Rome for a honeymoon, an audience with the Pope, and to present her to his uncle. They arrive early in the morning, and he has time for a nap. She sneaks off to find the offices of a romance magazine she reads religiously: she wants to meet "The White Sheik," the hero of a soap-opera photo strip. Star-struck, she ends up 20 miles from Rome, alone on a boat with the sheik. A distraught Ivan covers for her, claiming she's ill. That night, each wanders the streets, she tempted by suicide, he by prostitutes. The next day, at 11, is their papal audience. Can things still right themselves? Written by
This was the first film Fellini directed on his own and it was among his best but most under-appreciated films. While it does not have the usual "Fellini look" (with odd looking supporting characters, unusual stories or unique style), the film is a definite winner--featuring a very cute story and some winning performances. Plus, like most of Fellini's films, the plot is pretty weird--and that I truly appreciate.
A young man and woman are married and come to Rome for their honeymoon. The very organized husband seems to have planned every last detail of the trip--scheduling almost every second of every day and allowing them no time alone or to even consummate their marriage. Instead of trying to get this seemingly inflexible man to bend, the young bride hopes to just slip away from the hotel VERY briefly to go meet her idol, the "White Sheik". Unbeknownst to the hubby, she is an avid reader of an adventure magazine that feature this fictional character--complete with photos and stories about his larger than life adventures and romance. And, she'd been writing him for some time and her only real desire in Rome was to spend just a brief moment with him. However, when she arrives at the office that publishes the magazine, the actor portraying him in the stories isn't there. But, the folks see she's a real fan and want to help her, so they tell her to get in the truck and go with the camera crew to the shoot. She only has a moment, but agrees--after all, he is her idol.
Well, one thing after another goes wrong and her brief excursion lasts more than a day! In the meantime, the new husband is panic-stricken but doesn't want to tell his uncle or his family--he's too embarrassed to tell them he's misplaced his wife! And, for the next day or so, he makes one excuse after another to explain why she isn't there to go on their fully packed itinerary! The story is very cute and charming,...plus it provides a few laughs. In many ways, it reminds me of the later film THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO (where Mia Farrow is a devoted fan of a movie serial star and sees the same film again and again), but it is both more charming and ultimately has a better and more upbeat ending.
PS--I know this may make me sound like I am not "with it", but I really do prefer most of Fellini's earlier films and hate the "über strange" films from later in his career (such as SATYRICON). This is a wonderful film that is sure to please everyone--even those who don't think they like the films of Fellini.
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