Vittorio De Sica – Il tetto aka The Roof (1956)


THE ROOF, largely considered the last masterpiece of Italian Neorealist cinema, dramatizes a single night in the lives of Luisa (Gabriella Palloti) and Natale (Georgio Listuzzi), a strikingly good-looking but destitute pair of newlyweds. The couple shares a small two-room apartment with several relatives. Following a bitter family dispute, Luisa and Natale pack out of this untenable living situation. Luisa turns to a friend for housing, while Natale finds shelter in a toolshed. Realizing that separation is no solution, the couple struggles to build a small shack for themselves in a race against time by a Roman municipal edict, which declares that if the roof is not completed by dawn, it will be torn down by the police. True to writer Cesare Zavattini and director/producer Vittorio De Sica’s previous works (THE BICYCLE THIEF, UMBERTO D.), what risks being lost isn’t just material property, it is the personal dignity of the couple and by extenuation, the dignity of all of mankind. The acting, writing, and directing throughout THE ROOF is superb, creating an honest and touching story centered upon the mutual love and devotion of the young newlyweds. Continue reading

Giuseppe Amato & Vittorio De Sica – Rose scarlatte AKA Scarlet roses (1940)


Respectable bourgeois wife (Renee Saint-Cyr) turns out a mysterious bunch of scarlet roses and yields to temptation of adultery. Vittorio de Sica’s director debut (with supervision by Giuseppe Amato); light but already a little bitter comedy based on skillful Aldo de Benedetti’s stage hit. Naturally, superstar De Sica playing the main role himself – and is on the top of his charm here.
Sadly, there is only Spanish theatrical release (from that time), with Spanish dubbing and titles. Continue reading

Vittorio De Sica – Il giardino dei Finzi Contini AKA The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (1970)


(May contain spoilers)
In the late 1930s, in Ferrara, Italy, the Finzi-Contini are one of the leading families, wealthy, aristocratic, urbane; they are also Jewish. Their adult children, Micol and Alberto, gather a circle of friends for constant rounds of tennis and parties at their villa with its lovely grounds, keeping the rest of the world at bay. Into the circle steps Giorgio, a Jew from the middle class who falls in love with Micol.
She seems to toy with him, and even makes love to one of his friends while she knows Giorgio is watching. While his love cannot seem to break through to her to draw her out of her garden idyll, the forces of politics close in. Continue reading

Vittorio De Sica – Matrimonio all’italiana aka Marriage Italian Style (1964)


Synopsis :

Sophia Loren stars in this comedy about a successful businessman (Marcello Mastroianni) who kept a woman as his mistress for several years and now plans to marry another woman until his mistress pretends to be on her deathbed to induce him to marry her before she dies. Continue reading

Vittorio De Sica – Teresa Venerdì (1941)


Plot Synopsis from

Doctor Beware was the U.S.-released title of Vittorio DeSica’s 1941 effort Teresa Venerdi. DeSica not only directed, but played the leading role of orphanage official Dr. Vignali. The thinnish storyline finds the good doctor becoming romantically involved with three women. It is up to orphaned girl Teresa Venerdi (Adriana Benedetti) to untangle all the plot lines–and, as a bonus, to come to the financial rescue of the improvident Vignali. When the film was released to the U.S. in 1951, supporting actress Anna Magnani, cast in a secondary role as one of Dr. Vignali’s amours, was given star billing. Continue reading

Vittorio De Sica – Maddalena, zero in condotta AKA Maddalena, Zero for Conduct (1940)


Imdb comment:

This is definitely one of the best comedy ever made anywhere…In a Technical school girl students learn to write commercial letters to a Mr Doe in Germany…one day one of these letters is posted by mistake..the problem is that this Mr Doe really exists…The exquisite vittorio de Sica was a great performer before reaching stardom in 1946 with “the bicycle theft”…The movie is always charming ,never vulgar nor stupid and you really get off the movie theatre happy with yourself and life in general..Mussolini censors used Cinema to divert people in those black days…its is not the only movie of its kind but it is the best by miles..After 1960 Italian Directors like Fellini or Scola reacted strongly against this type of comedies..Now they dont seem to know how to make them anymore. Continue reading

Vittorio De Sica – Sciuscià AKA Shoeshine [+Extras] (1946)


At a track near Rome, shoeshine boys are watching horses run. Two of the boys Pasquale, an orphan, and Giuseppe, his younger friend are riding. The pair have been saving to buy a horse of their own to ride… The boys meet Attilio, Giuse’s much older brother, and his shady friend at a boat on the Tiber. In return for a commission, the boys agree to deliver black market goods to a fortune-teller. Once the woman has paid, Attilio’s gang suddenly arrives. Pretending to be cops, they shake the woman down. With a payoff from Attilio, the boys are able to make the final payment and stable their horse in Trastevere over the river… The fortune-teller identifies Pasqua and Giuse. Held at an overcrowded boys’ prison, they are separated. Giuse falls under the influence of an older lad in his cell, Arcangeli. During interrogation, Pasqua is tricked into betraying Giuse’s brother to the police. With their trial still in the future, the two friends are driven further apart… Continue reading