Italian Movie Classics

We have a library of neoclassic Italian feature films which are all in the public domain in Italy, and as such, are not subject to GATT Reversion registration in the United States.  The full catalog is below.  They are representative of the most important films from what is generally regarded as “The Golden Age of Italian Cinema:”

Wikipedia:

“By the end of World War II, the Italian “neorealist” movement had begun to take shape. Neorealist films typically dealt with the working class (in contrast to the Telefoni Bianchi), and were shot on location. Many neorealist films, but not all, utilized non-professional actors. Though the term “neorealism” was used for the first time to describe Luchino Visconti’s 1943 film, Ossessione, there were several important precursors to the movement, most notably Camerini’s What Scoundrels Men Are! (1932), which was the first Italian film shot entirely on location, and Blasetti’s 1942 film, Four Steps in the Clouds.

“Ossessione angered Fascist officials. Upon viewing the film, Vittorio Mussolini is reported to have shouted, “This is not Italy!” before walking out of the theater. The film was subsequently banned in the Fascist-controlled parts of Italy. While neorealism exploded after the war, and was incredibly influential at the international level, neorealist films made up only a small percentage of Italian films produced during this period, as postwar Italian moviegoers preferred escapist comedies starring actors such as Totòand Alberto Sordi.

“Neorealist works such as Roberto Rossellini‘s trilogy Rome, Open City (1945), Paisà (1946), andGermany, Year Zero (1948), with professional actors such as Anna Magnani and a number of non-professional actors, attempted to describe the difficult economic and moral conditions of postwar Italy and the changes in public mentality in everyday life. Visconti’s The Earth Trembles (1948) was shot on location in a Sicilian fishing village, and utilized local non-professional actors. Giuseppe De Santis, on other hand, used actors such as Silvana Mangano and Vittorio Gassman in his 1949 film, Bitter Rice, which is set in the Po Valley during rice-harvesting season.

“Poetry and cruelty of life were harmonically combined in the works that Vittorio De Sica wrote and directed together with screenwriter Cesare Zavattini: among them, Shoeshine (1946), The Bicycle Thief(1948) and Miracle in Milan (1951). The 1952 film Umberto D. showed a poor old man with his little dog, who must beg for alms against his dignity in the loneliness of the new society. This work is perhaps De Sica’s masterpiece and one of the most important works in Italian cinema. It was not a commercial success and since then it has been shown on Italian television only a few times. Yet it is perhaps the most violent attack, in the apparent quietness of the action, against the rules of the new economy, the new mentality, the new values, and it embodies both a conservative and a progressive view.

“Although Umberto D. is considered the end of the neorealist period, later films such as Federico Fellini‘sLa Strada (1954) and De Sica’s 1960 film Two Women (for which Sophia Loren won the Oscar for Best Actress) are grouped with the genre. Director Pier Paolo Pasolini‘s first film, Accattone (1961), shows a strong neorealist influence. Italian neorealist cinema influenced filmmakers around the world, and helped inspire other film movements, such as the French New Wave and the Polish Film School. The Neorealist period is often simply referred to as “The Golden Age” of Italian Cinema by critics, filmmakers, and scholars.”

As we release them on the Mr. FAT-W Video label, we will add links for direct purchase of the DVDs from Amazon.com below.

THE CATALOG

The Package has a a total of twenty feature-length movies, broken down into five groups; among them are many of the most important movies from the neoclassical genre.

The groups and titles are:

I.  ROBERTO ROSSELLINI

1. ROMA CITTA APERTA [Eng: OPEN CITY] 2.  PAISA [English:  PAISAN] 3.  GERMANIA ANNO ZERO [Eng: GERMANY YEAR ZERO] 4.  AMORE (a/k/a L’ AMORE) [Eng:  WOMAN/WAYS OF LOVE]

II.  VITTORIO DE SICA

1.  MADDALENA ZERO IN CONDOTTA [Eng: MADDALENE,ZERO IN CONDUCT] 2.  TERESA VENERDI [Eng: DOCTOR BEWARE] 3.  SCIUSCIA [Eng:  SHOESHINE] 4.  LADRI DI BICICLETTE [Eng:  THE BICYCLE THIEF]

III.  THE BEST OF THE REST

1.  SCIOPIONE L’AFRICANO [Eng:  SCIPIO AFRICANUS] 2.  SIGNOR MAX (a/k/a IL SIGNOR MAX) [Eng:  MR. MAX] 3.  CACCIA TRAGICA [Eng:  TRAGIC HUNT] 4.  LA TERRA TREMA [Eng:  THE EARTH TREMBLES]

IV.  THE ORIGINS OF COMEDY

1.  NERONE and IL MEDICO PER FORZA (a/k/a ANTOLOGIA DI PETROLINI,  (a/k/a
PETROLINI)  [Engl: NERONE (a/k/a ANTHOLOGY, a/k/a PETROLINI’s STORY,
a/k/a NERONE and STRONG)] 2.  UOMINI CHE MASCALZONI! (a/k/a GLI UOMINI CHE MASCALZONI!,  a/k/a DOMINI
CHE MASCALZONE) [Eng:  WHAT RASCALS MEN ARE!] 3.  QUATTRO PASSI TRA LE NUVOLE [Eng: FOUR STEPS IN THE CLOUDS] 4.  L’ONOREVOLE ANGELINA [Eng:  ANGELINA]

V.  SIMPLY UNFORGETTABLE

1.  UN GARIBALDINO IN CONVENTO [Eng: SOLDIER OF GARIBALDI IN
THE CONVENT] 2.  GIORNO NELLA VITA (a/k/a UN GIORNO NELLA VITA) [Eng: ONE DAY IN
THE LIFE] 3.  NATALE AL CAMPO 119 [Eng: BORN IN CAMP 119] 4.  SOTTO IL SOLE DI ROMA [Eng:  UNDER THE SUN OF ROME]

I.  ROBERTO ROSSELLINI

1. ROMA CITTA APERTA [English:  OPEN CITY]

1945; 100 minutes [Starring Anna Magnani, Aldo Fabrizi, Marcello Pagliero, Anna Michi, Harry Feist; screenplay by Sergio Amidei and Roberto Rossellini; winner, New York Film Critics Award 1946: Best Foreign Film; Cannes Festival Award Winner]

“Rome 1944; the city is occupied by the Nazis.  There are a series of events that take place around the execution of a priest, Don Morosini:  a common woman’s engagement to be married; the resistance; collaboration with the enemy; the day to day life of a city dominated by fear; betrayal; physical and moral misery; and large and small acts of heroism.”

NOTE:  first registered Italy 9/27/46; became public domain Italy 9/28/75

2.  PAISA [English:  PAISAN]

1946; 112 minutes [Winner, New York Film Critics Award, 1948: Best Foreign Film; Screenplay: Frederico Fellini, Sergio Amidei, Alfred Hayes, Sergio Pagliero, Roberto Rossellini;  Director of Photography: Otello Martelli; Music: Renzo Rossellini; Cast: Carmela Sazio, Vito Chiari, Robert Von Loon, Dots M. Johnson, Marcello Pagliero, Alfonsino, Maria Michi]

“Some of the best italian [sic] writers have collaborated to the making of this film.  In these stories, situations sometimes formed fiery personal conflicts between individuals; and the war created human and social conditions that were tragic and barbaric.  This film protrays [sic] a ‘dark realism’ that is created by a narration of sentiment.”

NOTE:  first registered Italy 12/10/46; became public domain Italy 12/11/76

3.  GERMANIA ANNO ZERO [English:  GERMANY YEAR ZERO]

1947; 70 minutes [Cast: Edmund Mesche, Ernest Pitschau, Ingestraud Finze, Franz Kruger, Eric Guhne, Barbara Hintze]

“In Berlin, right after World War Two, surrounded by a sort of nightmare atmosphere, a thirty-year-old-boy finds himself face to face with a terrible reality  obliged to make moral and radical choises [sic] too heavy for a teenager.  All these troubles lead him to commit suicide; and through his death Rossellini steps into his personal concept of life.”

NOTE:  first registered Italy 12/1/48; became public domain in Italy 12/2/78

4.  AMORE (a/k/a L’ AMORE) [English:  WOMAN/WAYS OF LOVE]

1948; 75 minutes [Starring:  Anna Magnani]

“The title itself refers to the theme behind the new poetry of this director.  (After the war trilogy):  love is the ultimate solution for the contradictions of the present and surpasses the selfishness of the individual’s solitude.  This episode was masterfully interpreted by Magnani (over the course of the years, there have been various remakes of this film).”

NOTE:  first registered Italy 10/30/48; became public domain in Italy 10/31/78

II.  VITTORIO DE SICA

1.  MADDALENA ZERO IN CONDOTTA [English: MADDALENE, ZERO IN CONDUCT]

1940; 77 minutes [Cast:  Vittorio De Sica, Carla Del Poggio, Vera Bergman, Roberto Villa, Iraseme Diliam, Amelia Chellini, Guglielmo Bernabo’, Paola Vernroni, Arturo Bragaglia]

“The film that practically ended the period of ‘Telefoni Bianchi’ as well as being the leader of the ‘Sophisticated Comedy’ from the U.S.A.  A film that played on misunderstanding and the unexpected:  the triumph of sentiment and the obligatory happy ending.  The entwinining of these elements effectively brings to the same level Realism and Surrealism, but always with a warmth and kindhearted smile.”

NOTE:  first registered Italy 12/18/40; became public domain in Italy 12/19/76

2.  TERESA VENERDI [English:  DOCTOR BEWARE]

1941; 85 minutes [Cast:  Vittorio De Sica, Adriana Benetti, Irasema Dilian, Anna Magnani, Olga Vittoria Gentilli, Arturo Bragaglia, Virgilio Riento, Nino Pepe, Giuditta Rissone, Guglielmo Barnabo’]

“This is among the first of De Sicca’s films that was filled with ‘fun.’  More specifically, the director uses already existing elements such as:  the enchanted world of adolescence; a woman the [sic] changes her destiny with determination and consciousness; a whole universe collected in the small outer space of one particular environment; and a splendid direction of the actors.”

NOTE:  first registered Italy 11/24/41; became public domain in Italy 11/25/77

3.  SCIUSCIA [English:  SHOESHINE; Academy Award, 1947: Special Award]

1946; 82 minutes [Screenplay: Sergio Amidei, Marcello Pagliero, William Tamburella, Adolfo Franci; Cast:  Emilio Cigoli, Renaldo Smordoni, Franco Interlenghi, Bruno Ortenzi, Gino Saltamerenda, Antonio Nicotra, Leo Garavaglia, Claudio Ermelli, Maria Campi]

“This is one of the most important films of Neorealism that introduced the new Italian Cinema to the world.  After the world, two shoeshine boys from Naples pushed by their own misery, end up in a reformatory.  A forceful, deep, tragical film; an accurate description of Naples that only De Sica has been able to capture.”

NOTE:  first registered in Italy 4/27/46; became public domain in Italy 5/28/76

4.  LADRI DI BICICLETTE [English:  THE BICYCLE THIEF; Academy Award, 1949, Best
Foreign Language Film; New York Film Critics’ Award, 1949: Best Foreign Film]

1948; 85 minutes [Screenplay:  Cesare Zavattini, Vittorio De Sica; Director of Photography:  Carol Montuori; Misic: Alessandro Cicognini; Cast:  Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola, Lsianella Carell, Elena Altieri, Gino Saltamerenda, Massimo Randisi, Michele Sakara, Vittorio Antonucci, Giulio Chiari, Carlo Dachino]

“The list of awards that this film received, Oscar included, would fill the page.  An extraordinary Neorealistic film that used actors taken from the street.  Thanks to the magic pen of Zavattini and the eyes of De Sica, this film will be ranked among the masterpieces of worldwide cinema.”

NOTE:  first registered Italy 11/24/48; became public domain Italy 11/25/78

III.  IL MEGLIO

1.  SCIOPIONE L’AFRICANO [English:  SCIPIO AFRICANUS]

1937; 120 minutes; Directed by Carmine Gallone [Cast: Annibale Ninchi, Camillo Pilotto, Isa Miranda, Francesca Braggiotti, Fosco Giachetti, Memo Senassi]

“In the same vein as Griffith’s Kolossal Scipione, this film is the highest reaching achievement of an historical recreation in Italian Cinema.  Thousands of supporting actors, monumental sets, epic battles and all the great actors of that time, superbly recreating the Caesar’s Imperial Rome.”

NOTE: first published in Italy 1937; became public domain Italy 1974

2.  SIGNOR MAX (a/k/a IL SIGNOR MAX) [English:  MR. MAX]

1937; 87 minutes; Directed by Mario Camerini [Cast:  Vittorio De Sica, Assia Noris, Rubi D’Alma, Lilia Dale]

“At the height of the era ‘Telefoni Bianchi’ (Neorealism still far away) it is the time of sophisticated comedy:  in a pretentious and ‘sugar-coated’ setting.  It is this world that the edifying Max will crumble for a rich count.  One of Camerini’s best films, certainly in keeping with his title of ‘The Patriarch of Italian Cinema’.”

NOTE:  first published in Italy 1937; became public domain in Italy 1974

3.  CACCIA TRAGICA [English:  TRAGIC HUNT]

1948; 86 minutes; Directed by Giuseppe De Santis [Screenplay  Corrado Alvaro, Umberto Barbaro, Michelangelo Antonioni, Carlo Liani, Guiseppe De Santis, Cesare Zavattini; Cast: Vivo Gioi, Carla Del Poggio, Massimo Girotti, Andrea Checchi, Folco Lulli]

“Set in the aftermath of the war, the film opens with the robbery and pillaging of a cooperative by bandits; the assault and tragic surrender to the police and common people.  A superb metaphor
about the dangers that Italy must endure to heal the wounds of conflict and begin reconstruction.”

NOTE:  first registered Italy 11/4/47; became public domain Italy 11/5/77

4.  LA TERRA TREMA [English:  THE EARTH TREMBLES]

1949; 158 minutes; Directed by Luchino Visconti [Cast:  various nonprofessional Sicilian fishermen]

“Filmed among the Sicilian fishermen of the village of Aci Trezza, the story exposes, in all it’s [sic] drama, ‘the hard life’ and its struggles; and the oppression of the poor.  It is astonishing how, with Visconti’s refined hand, he is able to so profoundly recreate the life of these fishermen; and extract from his actors complete authenticity.”

NOTE:  first registered Italy 9/2/48; became public domain Italy 9/3/78

IV.  LE ORIGINI DELLA COMMEDIA

1.  NERONE and IL MEDICO PER FORZA (a/k/a ANTOLOGIA DI PETROLINI, a/k/a
PETROLINI)  [English: NERONE (a/k/a ANTHOLOGY, a/k/a PETROLINI’s STORY,
a/k/a NERONE and STRONG)]

NERONE:  Produced in 1930; directed by Alessandro Blasetti [Cast:  Ettore Petrolini, Mercedes Brignone, Grazia del Rio]

IL MEDICO PER FORZA: Produced in 1931; directed by Carlo Campogalliani [Cast:  Ettore Petrolini, Letizia Quaranta, Tilde Mercandalli]

Combined Running Length:  71 minutes

“Composed of two medium lenght [sic] films:  ‘Nerone’ and ‘Medico per forza’.  The film is a descriptive series of the greatest comedian in the first half of the century.  The practical jokes and famous characterizations of ‘Nerone’ mark the beginning of representational comedy.

NOTE: first published in Italy in 1930/31; became public domain in Italy in 1968

2.  UOMINI CHE MASCALZONI! (a/k/a GLI UOMINI CHE MASCALZONI! (a/k/a DOMINI CHE MASCALZONE) [English:  WHAT RASCALS MEN ARE!]

1953; 79 minutes; Directed by Mario Camerini [Screenplay:  Age Scarpelli, Leo Bevenuti, G. Pellegrini; Cast:  Walter Chiari, Antonella Lualdi, Myriam Bru, Carette, Marie Glory, Jone Salinas]

“A fresh comedy which escapes the superficiality of that era.  The scenes take place on the streets of Milan, anticipating Neorealism.  The most famous of the scenes is that in which De Sica sings ‘Paralmi d’amore Mariu’, which would become the most famous Italian song in the 30’s and 40’s.”

NOTE:  first published in Italy 11/3/53; becomes public domain for all purposes Italy 11/4/2003

3.  QUATTRO PASSI TRA LE NUVOLE [English:  FOUR STEPS IN THE CLOUDS]

1942; 85 minutes; Directed by Alessandro Blasetti [Cast:  Gino Cervi, Adriana Bedetti, Enrico Viarisio, Carlo Romano, Lauro Gazzolo, Giuditta Rissone, Virgilio Riento]

“Feydeau’s comedy of mishap is the starting point, but with something more.  With the war in full progress, the film makes a simple story a sweet message of hope.  A very important film, in which we find the germ of Neorealism.”

NOTE:  first registered Italy 12/23/42; became public domain Italy 12/24/78

4.  L’ONOREVOLE ANGELINA [English:  ANGELINA]

1947; 83 minutes; Directed by Luigi Zampa [Cast:  Anna Magnani, Nondo Bruno, Ave Ninchi, Agnese Dubbini, Ernesto Almirante, Armando Migliari, Vittorio Mottini, Maria Grazia Francia, Maria Donati, Aristide Baghetti, Diego Calcagno]

“In Rome, after the war, it is difficult to get along with daily problems of surviving, but Angelina (An extraordinary Anna Magnani) does not loose [sic] faith and finds herself leader of the common people, with the possibility of a seat in Parliament.  But the best political strenght [sic] remains children and a good husband.”

NOTE:  first registered Italy 11/12/47; became public domain Italy 11/13/77

V.  GLI INDIMENICABILI

1.  UN GARIBALDINO IN CONVENTO [English:  SOLDIER OF GARIBALDI IN  THE
CONVENT]

1942; 85 minutes; Directed by Vittorio De Sica [Cast:  Carla Del Poggio, Maria Mercader, Leonardo Cortese, Lamberto Picasso, Olga Vittoria Gentilli, Armando Migliari, Vittorio De Sica, Elvira Betrone]

“Garibaldi, the hero of two worlds, the figure whose presence has always been a blend of fact and legend.  De Sica, in this film develops a simple episode into the skillfully merging of heroism and a delicate love story; two key ingredients that insure enduring and enormous success with the public.”

NOTE:  produced in 1941, first published in Italy 3/10/42; became public domain in Italy 3/11/78

2.  GIORNO NELLA VITA (a/k/a UN GIORNO NELLA VITA)  [English: ONE DAY IN THE
LIFE]

1946; 79 minutes; Directed by Alessandro Blasetti [Screenplay:  Alessandro Blasetti, Mario Chiari, Diego Fabbri, Anton Giullo Mejano, Cesare Zavattini; Cast:  Elisa Cegani, Amedeo Nazzari, Mariella Lotti, Massimo Girotti, Dina Sassoli, Ada Dondini]

“The war of liberation in Italy sometimes lead [sic] to very strange alliances as in this film.  At the time, this story moved an entire nation.  This narrative tells of a convent in seclution [sic]; a group of nuns willing to sacrifice their lives for the protection of partisans.  Involving forceful, dramatic, a film that successfully combines history with entertainment.”

NOTE:  first registered Italy 4/5/46; became public domain Italy 4/6/76

3.  NATALE AL CAMPO 119 [English: BORN IN CAMP 119]

1948; 78 minutes; Directed by Piero Francisi [Cast:  Aldo Fabrizi, Vittorio De Sica, Peppino De Filippo, Alberto Rabagliati, Aldo Fiorelli, Massimo Girotti, Giacomo Rondinella, Vera Carmi, Maria Mercader, Ave Ninchi, Beniamino Maggio, Adolfo Celi, Pietro De Vico]

“The war has has [sic] been over for a long time, but for Camp 119’s Italian prisoners in California, the upcoming Christmas brings only memories and entwined shreds of the past; hopes for the future and news from home.  And then finally, the long awaited declared liberation.  The war is really over.”

NOTE:  first registered Italy 12/22/47; became public domain Italy 12/23/77

4.  SOTTO IL SOLE DI ROMA [English:  UNDER THE SUN OF ROME]

1947; 83 minutes; Directed by Renato Castellani [Cast:  Liliana Macnini, Oscar Blando, Franco Golisano]

“This film tells the story of a group of roman [sic] street boys. The film paints an accurate picture of the common life during the war.  The actors became favorites of the public because of the freshness of their performances.  They are the authentic sons of the common people with an uncommon drama.”

NOTE:  first published in Italy 10/2/48; became public domain Italy 11/3/78