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We the Living (1942)

Noi vivi (original title)
Not Rated | | Adventure, Drama, Romance | 1942 (Italy)
The time is the Russian Revolution. The place is a country burdened with fear - the midnight knock at the door, the bread hidden against famine, the haunted eyes of the fleeing, the ... See full summary »

Writers:

Ayn Rand (novel), Corrado Alvaro (adaptation) | 4 more credits »
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Alida Valli ... Kira Argounova
Fosco Giachetti ... Andrei Taganov
Rossano Brazzi ... Leo Kovalenski
Emilio Cigoli Emilio Cigoli ... Pavel Sjerov
Giovanni Grasso Giovanni Grasso ... Stephan Tishenko
Annibale Betrone ... Vassili Dunaev
Elvira Betrone Elvira Betrone ... Maria Petrovna Dunaev
Sennuccio Benelli Sennuccio Benelli ... Saska
Cesarina Gheraldi Cesarina Gheraldi ... La compagna Sonja
Silvia Manto Silvia Manto ... Mariska
Gioia Collei Gioia Collei ... La piccola Acia Dunaev
Bianca Doria Bianca Doria ... Irina Dunaev
Lamberto Picasso Lamberto Picasso ... GPU Captain
Claudia Marti Claudia Marti ... Lidia Augounova
Evelina Paoli Evelina Paoli ... Galina Petrovna Argounova
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Storyline

The time is the Russian Revolution. The place is a country burdened with fear - the midnight knock at the door, the bread hidden against famine, the haunted eyes of the fleeing, the grublike fat of the appeasers and oppressors. In a bitter struggle of the individual against the collective, three people stand forth with the mark of the unconquered in their bearing: Kira, who wants to be a builder, and the two men who love her - Leo, an aristocrat, and Andrei, a Communist. In their tensely dramatic story, Ayn Rand shows what the theories of Communism mean in practice. We the Living is not a story of politics but of the men and women who have to struggle for existence behind the Red banners and slogans. It is a picture of what dictatorship - of any kind - does to human beings, what kind of men are able to survive, and which of them remain as the ultimate winners. What happens to the defiant ones? What happens to those who succumb? Who are the winners in this conflict? Against a vivid ... Written by The Publisher of "We the Living"

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The 1942 Film Classic Starring Alida Valli, Rossano Brazzi, and Fosco Giachetti


Certificate:

Not Rated
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

Italy

Language:

Italian

Release Date:

1942 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Ayn Rand's We the Living See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The films We the Living (1942) and Addio Kira! (1942) were produced in 1942 in Italy ("Addio Kira" is part two of the story that begins in "Noi Vivi"). The films were made without the authorization, input, involvement, or, in fact, knowledge, of Ayn Rand author of the underlying work, "We The Living". Because of the war and the fact that Rand was an American, the producers, Scalera Films, made no attempt to secure the underlying literary rights. In these films, the original story was severely corrupted due to addition of several gratuitous propaganda scenes ordered by the fascist party (they controlled all filmmaking in Italy at that time). After the war, Scalera attempted to get the underlying rights from Rand and was refused. Because of this "Noi Vivi" and "Addio Kira" were not and cannot be legally distributed (Rand eventually received wartime reparations from the government of Italy for the theft of her property). Many years later, the negatives of the two existing films were purchased by American filmmakers. Rand granted literary rights and authorized a new film version of "We The Living" to be created out the films on the condition that several significant changes were made. Most importantly, she wanted the propaganda scenes removed and the story to be told in a single film. Because of this, "We The Living", released in 1986, is significantly different from the two unauthorized films. The offending scenes and several subplots of the story have been removed. Running time is now a full hour less than the total of the two films. See more »

Connections

Referenced in It Happened in '43 (1960) See more »

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User Reviews

 
WE THE LIVING (Goffredo Alessandrini, 1942) ***1/2
28 April 2006 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

I haven't watched that many Italian films made prior to the neo-realist movement but I knew of this film from "Leonard Maltin's Film Guide", so I taped it when shown on late-night TV some years ago. Though it had lain in my "VHS To Watch" pile since that time, I decided to give it a whirl now as a tribute to its leading lady Alida Valli - who died only last week!

The film's history is as convoluted as that of its narrative, which is close to 3 hours in length: the story takes place in Russia and the plot (an unauthorized adaptation of the Ayn Rand novel) naturally dealt with Communism; being a wartime production (if still handsomely mounted), it was deemed to be critical of the Fascist regime and subsequently banned! Only in 1986 was the film restored to its current form - and distributed in the U.S. to considerable success - but, unfortunately, the source print wasn't perfect (with the result that the video version suffers from some distracting fuzziness, particularly towards the end)...

Despite its epic scope, the film is decidedly talky and necessarily heavy-going in nature; but the acting (featuring perhaps romantic idol Rossano Brazzi's finest performance) is terrific and, as a whole, the narrative anticipates another troubled wartime epic - Marcel Carne''s masterpiece CHILDREN OF PARADISE (1945), particularly in the way Valli is pursued by a number of suitors throughout the film but ends up alone by the end of it.

The only other film by director Goffredo Alessandrini I've watched is ABUNA MESSIAS (1939), another historical piece but - ironically enough - a propagandist one! In the end, with all the celebrated classics that have emerged from Italy along the years by any number of influential auteurs, WE THE LIVING remains - with good reason - an important film and, undeniably, one of the most impressive (if largely unsung) ever made in that country.


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