7.3/10
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23 user 28 critic

The White Sheik (1952)

Lo sceicco bianco (original title)
Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama | 25 April 1956 (USA)
During a day in their honeymoon, a couple is separated by the city's lust and the desires it produces.

Director:

Federico Fellini

Writers:

Michelangelo Antonioni (story) (as M. Antonioni), Federico Fellini (story) (as F. Fellini) | 4 more credits »
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Alberto Sordi ... Fernando Rivoli - lo sceicco bianco
Brunella Bovo Brunella Bovo ... Wanda Giardino Cavalli
Leopoldo Trieste ... Ivan Cavalli
Giulietta Masina ... Cabiria - La prostituta
Ernesto Almirante Ernesto Almirante ... Dottore Fortuna - il regista del fotoromanzo
Lilia Landi Lilia Landi ... Felga - La zingara del fotoromanzo
Fanny Marchiò Fanny Marchiò ... Marilena Alba Vellardi
Gina Mascetti Gina Mascetti ... Aida Rivoli - La moglie di Fernando
Jole Silvani Jole Silvani ... Collega di Cabiria
Enzo Maggio Enzo Maggio ... Furio
Anna Primula Anna Primula
Mimo Billi Mimo Billi ... Man on the beach
Armando Libianchi Armando Libianchi
Ugo Attanasio Ugo Attanasio ... Uncle of Ivan
Giulio Moreschi Giulio Moreschi ... Portiere d'albergo
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Storyline

Moments after the newlywed couple of the fastidious office employee Ivan and his young and pure wife Wanda arrive at a hotel in Rome for their honeymoon and a formal meeting with Ivan's uncle, the bride decides to sneak out of the room and leave unnoticed. Wanda, obsessed with the masculine "White Sheik", her idol and hero of her favourite romantic photonovel, and tempted by his fiery invitation, she decides to actually meet him in person just to show him a painting she made. Without a doubt, 20-year-old Wanda risks a lot, however, she needs to see him in all of his glory. Instead, she will reluctantly join the cast of the photonovel, she will even get a small part too, she will be seduced by the arrogant protagonist and ultimately, confused and disappointed, she will inevitably realise that she is all alone and so far away from Rome and her husband. Perplexed by Wanda's strange disappearance and unable to disclose the news to his family, Ivan will seek her in the streets of Rome ... Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

italy | newlywed | honeymoon | boat | sword | See All (22) »

Taglines:

A Very Funny Picture by Federico Fellini See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Italy

Language:

Italian

Release Date:

25 April 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The White Sheik See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

OFI,P.D.C. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono | Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

This film has a 100% rating based on 11 critic reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. See more »

Quotes

Fernando Rivoli - lo sceicco bianco: I feel the same way when I'm on the water. A strange, melancholy joy takes over my entire being.
[Looks up]
Fernando Rivoli - lo sceicco bianco: A seagull! Dear little seagull. Dear little seagull. It's a joy that comes from remembering a previous life. Afterlife. Previous life or afterlife? Previous. Who knows who we were then, you and I? Perhaps I was a pirate and I bet you were a mermaid.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Wild Man Blues (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A delightful and enchanting comedy from Fellini
28 September 2003 | by Ymir4See all my reviews

"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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