A tremendous congestion hit the Roma highway ring. The biggest traffic jam ever seen endures for more than 36 hours. People blocked in their cars react at the beginning normally. But the ... See full summary »
Agnese, a 15-year-old Sicilian girl is seduced and impregnated by Peppino, her sister Matilde's fiancé. Soon Vincenzo, Agnese's father, discovers everything. He wants to force Peppino to ... See full summary »
Sei persone sono sullo stesso treno, in viaggio dall'Italia verso Montecarlo. Alcuni vorrebbero giocare (e vincere) al Casinò, altri stanno portando un cagnolino ad una anziana e ricca ... See full summary »
Amedeo and Ofelia, middle aged brother and sister, own jointly an old decadent, but still attractive, condominium. They want to sell it, but before they have to evict all the tenants. Of ... See full summary »
Italy, 1916. Oreste Jacovacci and Giovanni Busacca are called, as all the Italian youths, to serve the army in the WWI. They both try in every way to avoid serving the army. Giovanni bribes... See full summary »
An obscure Italian magistrate suspects that a well-known industrialist commited murder, and decides to investigate him, and bring him to court, whatever it takes. But - will the magistrate ... See full summary »
In Naples, a voice from the skies announces one morning that the final judgment will be at 6 p.m. on that day. What follows is a series of vignettes depicting various people's reactions (or lack there of) to the announcement.
Vittorio De Sica
This is possibly Comencini's finest work (which I watched in tribute to his recent passing), one of several contemporaneous Italian war-themed films - Mario Monicelli's LA GRANDE GUERRA (1959), Gillo Pontecorvo's KAPO' (1959), Roberto Rossellini's IL GENERALE DELLA ROVERE (1959) and ERA NOTTE A ROMA (1960), Florestano Vancini's LA LUNGA NOTTE DEL '43 (1960), Vittorio De Sica's LA CIOCIARA (1961), Luciano Salce's IL FEDERALE (1961), Nanni Loy's LE QUATTRO GIORNATE DI NAPOLI (1962), etc. Still, despite being awarded the David Di Donatello for best film (and other international prizes), it's not very well-known outside Italy!
The international cast assembled for the film is comprised of Italians (Alberto Sordi, Nino Castelnuovo, Edoardo De Filippo, Carla Gravina), French (Serge Reggiani) and Americans (Martin Balsam, Alex Nicol); Nino Manfredi was originally intended for the role eventually played by Reggiani - but Sordi apparently objected to the idea of having two comic stars in the film! Still, in spite of Sordi's reputation, it's not an out-and-out comedy but rather a tragi-comedy about the chaos which pervaded Italy in the final days of WWII - with most of the soldiers eager to go back home by every possible means, regardless of the risk of their being arrested for desertion!
The scene in which Sordi's father (celebrated playwright De Filippo) contrives to have his war-weary son join the resurging Fascist Army as soon as he arrives home is a moving depiction of the elders' illusion of their country's glory and, at the same time, the children's disenchantment with their own parents. Despite their inherent self-preservation and egotism (exemplified by Sordi's escapade with a lusty merchant), the soldiers are bound together by solidarity - and, eventually joining the partisans, he gets to indulge in some machine-gun action at the very end.
A wonderful dramatic sequence involves Jewish Gravina being hounded by the Germans: with the help of Sordi and his company, she flees their pursuit on various means of transportation - but this actually leads to Castelnuovo's demise. Similarly poignant is the night-time conversation between U.S. refugee Nicol and Sordi at Balsam's house - which is interrupted by the arrival of the Fascists, who promptly arrest the two American actors (though Balsam is actually playing an Italian, as is Reggiani).
The film's comic highlight, then, sees the boys pilfering Reggiani's precious food parcel while he's asleep and substituting it with rocks (an incident which has a tragic outcome later on). Another episode which mixes farce with suspense is the one where Sordi and other escaping prisoners take refuge inside a church (the star hides in a confessional and, mistaken for the parish priest by an old lady, she starts relating her sins to him!).
Unfortunately, the print I watched of this gem was rather soft and hazy
and I'm wondering what the quality of the bare-bones Italian DVD is
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?