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The railroad engineer Andrea Marcocci has been working with his partner and friend Gigi Liverani for thirty years and feels happy and proud with his work, drinking wine after hours with his friends in a bar owned by the former railroad man Ugo. Andrea is married with Sara and his young son Sandro is very close to him; however Andrea has issues with his unemployed son Marcello and with his pregnant daughter Giulia, whose boy-friend Renato Borghi was forced to marry her. When a suicidal crosses the tracks of his train in a curve, Andrea feels deeply affected by the accident and almost collides with another train. The railroad company investigates the accident and steps Andrea down from his position. The domestic life of Andrea is also affected by his aggressive behavior and Marcello and Giulia leave home. Later Andrea also leaves home and starts to drink until the day Sandro visits his father in a bar. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
This likable and virtually unknown early film by the director of the acclaimed DIVORCE ITALIAN STYLE is a domestic drama replete with the essentials of the genre: emotional outbursts, separations, and final tearful reunions. A railroad engineer, husband and father, nearly goes to pieces after accidentally running down a suicide on the tracks and barely avoiding collision with another train. His domestic life is derailed as well. He has an older son who is a bum, an alienated and embittered daughter forced to marry her cad-like seducer. Only his wife and younger son, eloquently played by Edoardo Nevola, are any consolation to him. The film rises above the limitations of soap opera through the beauty of the characterizations and the quality of the performances. Pietro Germi, who directs and stars, is able to give us, through a highly detailed and virtuoso performance, something of the feel of frustration and fear (made worse by excessive drinking) which accompany sensitive fathers with the bulk of their lives already lived. There are some heart-wrenching dramatic moments, as when the small son tries to retrieve his drunken father from the wine tavern and those scenes which show the man's worker friends ostracizing him because he becomes a scab during a railroad strike. The movie bears some obvious resemblances to DeSica's BICYCLE THIEF, the gritty locales, the social commentary mixed in with personal drama, the poignant father-son bond that is the worker's eventual salvation. There are some excesses as well, particularly in the over-acting of Sylva Koscina as the man's daughter. Carlo Rustichelli's lovely musical score is an asset when not being overly cloying.
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