Tribute to Naples, where director De Sica spent his first years, this is a collection of 6 Napolitean episodes : a clown exploited by a gangster ; an inconstant pizza seller (Sofia) loosing... See full summary »
Tribute to Naples, where director De Sica spent his first years, this is a collection of 6 Napolitean episodes : a clown exploited by a gangster ; an inconstant pizza seller (Sofia) loosing her husband's ring ; the funeral of a dead child ; the gambler Count Prospero B. defeated by a kid ; the unexpected and unusual wedding of Teresa, a prostitute ; the "professor" Ersilio Micci, a "wisdom seller". Written by
Superb collection of vignettes in the daily life of the people of Naples, lensed by a master director. Six separate stories, all with wonderful characters, including one starring De Sica himself as a frustrated Count, ready to wager the family silver and country estates in a desperate attempt to win an ongoing card game against an unbeatable street urchin. The movie begins with the tale of a downtrodden family man who rebels against his low-level, mob-boss bully of a lodger, setting his family free -- but at what cost? Funny, but also disturbing. One of the stories a touching, virtually wordless tale of a heartbroken mother accompanying her child's coffin to the cemetery, together with a crowd of children, unaware of the real tragedy, only interested in candy. The most dramatic piece starring Silvana Mangano as a prostitute tricked into a loveless marriage by a wealthy man atoning for the suicide of his true love. The stand-out story, a delightful tale of an adulterous pizza maker, Sophia Loren, desperately in search of an emerald ring, supposedly baked into a pizza, but in reality left on her lover's nightstand. This film is worth watching for one scene alone, watching Loren stride down the street in the rain, followed by her cuckolded husband. If ever one scene in a movie made a star then this is it. Obviously not wearing a bra, Loren's breasts fill the screen and De Sica, full of mischief, follows her every move, both from front and behind in a gorgeous, gorgeous display of Loren's twenty year old sensuality. One of those knockout scenes that belongs to film history. The last vignette, an arrogant landlord, bully to all his tenants, humiliated by them when they all in unison blow a Bronx cheer as he passes by. A trifle, but brilliantly set up and performed with cheeky perfection. What this movie also offers is the sense of reality, a total lack of artifice and lack of studio sets, all in the style of the Bicycle Thief, another of De Sica's masterpieces, filmed on the streets. One's heart aches for the passing of such a talented actor and director. This is a movie that demands to be released in a full version, not the shortened American one, in a decent and respectable DVD. Can't Criterion get hold of this somehow? MovIe lovers deserve to be able to enjoy every minute of this delight. Hats off to De Sica and all involved!
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