Six separate episodes: would-be suicides discuss their despair. A provincial dance hall. An investigative reporter posing as a husband-to-be. A young unwed mother. Girl-watching techniques of Italian men. A glimpse into prostitution.
In 1914, a luxury ship leaves Italy in order to scatter the ashes of a famous opera singer. A lovable bumbling journalist chronicles the voyage and meets the singer's many eccentric friends and admirers.
Who would have thought that only moments after arriving at Rome for their honeymoon, the young and pure bride, Wanda, would sneak out of the room, leaving her fastidious groom, Ivan, all alone? Obsessed with the masculine Fernando Rivoli--the hero of her favourite romantic photo-novel, The White Sheik--Wanda plucks up the courage to meet him in person, only to be seduced by the arrogant protagonist, so far away from the hotel and her husband. As a result--perplexed by Wanda's strange disappearance, and unable to disclose the news to his family--Ivan meanders through the ill-lit Roman streets in search of his wife, on pins and needles, waiting for their eleven o'clock appointment with his uncle and the Papal Audience at the Vatican. What does the new day have in store for the separated newlyweds?Written by
"Our real lives are in our dreams, but sometimes dreams are a fatal abyss."
That line above is one of the most beautiful lines I've ever heard in any film. This 1951 comedy feature is free of Fellini's quintessential surrealist vision but filled with the delights of idiosyncratic imagery, genius comical precision, and indisputable humanity.
The film opens in Rome, where a newlywed small-town couple is vacationing on their honeymoon. While in Rome, the (very) young bride takes advantage of being near the location where a new film is being shot that stars The White Sheik, a popular film/serial/newspaper icon whom she is secretly infatuated with. While her husband is sleeping, she sneaks off to find the Sheik and give him a drawing she has made of him. Brunella Bovo, who plays the bride, is new to me, but she was absolutely entrancing in her innocence. Trieste's comic expressions are absolutely arresting. Sordi is hilarious as the Sheik, who is about as unromantic a romantic figure as you can imagine.
Nino Rota's first score for Fellini is a lot of fun and exceptionally carnivalesque. You can tell by the marriage of music and image that Fellini and Rota had a real treasured creative hit-off with this film, and as most know, Rota scored every Fellini film after "White Sheik" until his death in 1979. This great score has never been released in it's entirety, but the main title theme has appeared on many Rota compilations.
An absolutely adorable little film, which seems to have been regrettably ignored by the majority. It's one I will watch many times.
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