Two shoeshine boys in postwar Rome, Italy, save up to buy a horse, but their involvement as dupes in a burglary lands them in juvenile prison where the experience take a devastating toll on their friendship.
Vittorio De Sica
Enmeshed with the Italian Campaign during the liberation of Italy between 1943-1944, six distinct but unconnected episodes unfold. Starting off from Sicily, a local girl, Carmela, guides a band of American soldiers through a minefield with devastating results, while in Naples, Pasquale, the orphaned child of war, after stealing the boots of an inebriated African-American G.I., is followed back to his war-battered town. Then, in liberated Rome, the impoverished young prostitute, Francesca, waits for the American soldier who fell in love with six months before, and in Florence, during a battle across Ponte Vecchio, Harriet, a US wartime nurse, risks her life to reunite with her lover. Next, three army chaplains spend the night at a Roman Catholic monastery, however, only one of them is a Catholic. Finally, on the banks of Po River, American OSS officers and Italian Partisans fight the Nazis, after saving two downed English pilots.Written by
The film is divided in six episodes simply called 'Episode I', 'Episode II' etc. The action of the six different stories takes place, respectively, in Sicily (Episode I), Naples (Episode II), Rome (Episode III), Florence (Episode IV), a monastery in the Appenine Range (Episode V), Porte Tolle in the Po delta (Episode VI). See more »
During night a GI lights up his lighter while following the rocky path through the lava canal. A flashlight might have been used in order to help increase the effect of the lighter being lit. When the soldier closes the lighter, the spot projected by the flashlight remains on for a fraction of a second, which is enough to observe the synchronization issue. See more »
Originally premiered at the Venice Film Festival on September 8, 1946 in a longer cut (running 134 minutes). Later cut to 125 minutes. The 134 min. cut has been restored from material found at the Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv in Berlin, Germany and has premiered at the 55th Venice Film Festival in 1998. See more »
Communication is fragile. A woman leads an Allied patrol through a mine field; she dies protecting a G.I., but the Yanks think she killed him. A street urchin steals shoes from a G.I. who tracks him to a shanty town. A G.I. meets a woman the day Rome is liberated; in six months they meet again: he's cynical, she's a prostitute. A US nurse braves the trip across the Arno into German fire in search of a partisan she loves. Three chaplains, including a Jew, call on a monastery north in the Apennines. Allied soldiers and partisans try to escape capture in the marshes of the Po.
Rossellini engaged six writers, each of whom was to write one episode: Klaus Mann, Marcello Pagliero, Sergio Amidei, Federico Fellini, Alfred Hayes, and Vasco Pratolini. Each episode took place in a different location. The script notwithstanding, Rossellini often improvised with the actors and rewrote the stories as they were being filmed. For the first episode filmed in Sicily, Rossellini discarded the script and coached the non-professional, illiterate lead actress Carmela Sazio to a performance that received critical praise.
I love the variety of views on World War II. What is especially interesting is how we start with the point of view of the Allies. For much of the war, Italy was not an Ally but was ruled by Mussolini, who gravitated towards Hitler. (Though Italy was the least "evil" of Germany, Japan and Italy.) So this film seemingly champions the recent enemy...
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