A married American woman has gotten involved with another man while visiting relatives in Rome. She decides that the time has come to break off the relationship, and she makes plans to return home to her husband. But she soon realizes that she is not at all sure about what she wants to do, and she continues to agonize over her decision. Written by
Like fine wine, "Stazione Termini" seems to grow better and better with age.
Generally "written off" as a lesser De Sica work, this film offers two beautiful performances by Jennifer Jones and Montgomery Clift.
The two, with different types of acting training, sensitively mesh their discrete styles through deeply felt emotions. Highly gifted, vulnerable, and insecure, these top performers reach for the bottom of their feelings in bringing to life two desperate, lonely lovers.
It's been said these thespians enjoyed a close off-screen relationship due to the leading lady's deep infatuation with her co-star, and that she was distraught when he, due to personal circumstances, was unable to mutually respond.
That's not at all surprising, for it's all there in their work in this drama. A deft melding of romance and neo-realism, which marks the distinctive De Sica style, "Stazione" now seems just the right length for its content.
It almost seems to unfold in "quasi-real time," with shots of clocks ticking away before the train leaves at the story's finale to emphasize the time element.
What emerges here is a kind of slice-of-life vignette: two people in love, who must part due to one partner's domestic responsibility. We are allowed to briefly share their intimate, final moments together before their inevitable parting.
Zavattini's script (along with Truman Capote and Ben Hecht's dialogue) nicely capture these fleeting minutes, while the score lushly points up the pathos of a tragic unfoldment. De Sica's unique direction (with Selznick's uncredited contribution) rounds out a small gem of a film whose vintage grows increasingly more sweet and more special with age.
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