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Umberto D [DVD]

11 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Carlo Battisti, Maria Pia Casilio, Lina Gennari, Alberto Albani Barbieri
  • Directors: Vittorio de Sica
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Nouveaux
  • DVD Release Date: 3 Dec. 2012
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002VF4NU
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 35,266 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

A heartfelt portrait of an impoverished retired civil servant who lives in a rented room in postwar Rome with only his beloved dog and a teenage housemaid as companions. Faced with eviction when he can't keep up with his rent, the old man struggles to make ends meet and maintain his dignity, but his growing despair leads him to contemplate suicide.

Written by De Sica's long-standing collaborator Cesare Zavattini (who is the subject of an in-depth documentary extra on this DVD), UMBERTO D's depiction of poverty, old age and¬ loneliness - far from being a recipe for bleakness -¬ is bursting with life.

Despite international acclaim with ¬Cannes and Oscar nominations, it was castigated by the Italian government for airing the country's 'dirty laundry' in public. Today UMBERTO D is universally considered not only as the apex of Italian Neorealism but as one of cinema's masterpieces with a profound influence on generations of filmmakers.

Special Feature:

The DVD also features an hour-plus documentary featuring Cannes and Oscar ® winners Roberto Benigni (LA VITA E BELLA), Bernardo Bertolucci (LAST EMPEROR) and Carlo Lizzani, who directs this investigation of the mysteries of Neorealism and its founders; as seen through the provocative personality of Zavattini not just in his partnership with De Sica but also in his many other masterpieces, which shaped Italian and World Cinema forever.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Wilhelm Snyman on 10 Dec. 2005
Format: DVD
One of the most poignant and moving stories ever told on film, with an unusual theme - what happens to an old man who is left destitute by circumstances (war, inflation) in post-war Italy. Terribly sad and sentimental, yet filled with the visual poetry for which De Sica (Bicycle Thieves) is deservedly famed. A superb film - withering in its critique of uncaring capitalism - that can be watched time and time again.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By hillbank68 TOP 500 REVIEWER on 6 Aug. 2007
Format: DVD
This is a charming film, one that could be very sentimental but is not, in my view, and certainly one that stays in the memory. Umberto is an old man in post-War Rome who has no money. His plight is shared by many - the film opens with a demonstration by the elderly against the unfeeling treatment they face. He has a dog - Flike - who is his constant companion. His rented room is needed by his heavily painted, uncaring landlady, and he can no longer afford her unreasonable rent. He has a strong bond with the chambermaid, a naive, uneducated but very pretty girl, pregnant by one of two soldiers - she doesn't know which. Her situation is in many ways as unsure as his. Neither soldier seems to care about her and her family she says, will beat her if she returns to her village. Umberto does all he can to hold on to his lodgings, but in the end to no avail and, facing death on the streets, he desperately tries to find a future for Flike. This final fifteen minutes or so of the film is wonderfully poignant. He tries to 'board' Flike with people who in take dogs ... he will give all his money to them ; but clearly they are not to be trusted, and Flike senses that, cowering and whimpering, so they leave. He gives the dog to a little girl whom he knows, but the adults with her will not allow this. Finally, he walks beyond a level crossing barrier with the dog as a train approaches. Will he throw the dog under the train, to end it all quickly? Will he dive under the train, holding the dog? Neither happens, What does happen has to be seen, and my words will not do it justice. The film is wonderfully directed and acted, and the little terrier mongrel is astonishing in its 'role'. It is hard-edged - there is no solution to Umberto's plight, and the depiction of War-damaged Rome is completely convincing.Read more ›
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Littrell TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 20 Jun. 2007
Format: DVD
Having seen the film I read a bit about it. The Criterion Collection provides a booklet with an excellent review by Stuart Klawans and a bit of an interview with director Vittorio De Sica. What I learned was the Umberto D. was a big flop at the box office in Italy primarily because the Italian government didn't like the film because they thought it was insulting since it made Italy seem so unfeeling, poverty-stricken, and mercantile. I was struck by this because, yes, poor Umberto and his dog are pretty much set out to pasture without so much as some grass and a bone. But to say that such a film reflects upon an entire people is perhaps to protest too much.

Italy was devastated by the failure of fascism and was just beginning to recover from the war when this film was made, and nobody wanted any downers. Vittorio De Sica's film is perhaps not so much of a downer as the early critics thought. The ending is ambiguous and while not hopeful for Umberto is somewhat inspiring in the youthfulness of his dog and in the sweet humanity of the maid Maria who shoulders her situation with alacrity while showing affection and kindness toward a bitter old man.

I was not moved to tears as some have been in watching this. Umberto's troubles seem to me (from my privileged vantage point in time and place) somewhat of his own doing. I imagined that he supported the fascists, and I saw his poverty in his old age as a direct result of that support. Barring that, I imagined that he had planned poorly for his old age, and at any rate his values, represented by his always wearing a suit and tie and hat and his inability to beg or to take some kind of job, disqualified him for tears. Of course I was unfair.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Paulo Marques on 11 Feb. 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A sublime tale of a government pensioner, by the name of Umberto Domenico Ferrari (played brilliantly by Carlo Battisti) in the post-war Italy. Times were difficult, the rate of unemployment was very high, riots were constant among the population and the economy of Italy was decaying.
In such times Umberto D. had only one objective: survive. He and he's only friend a dog named Flike.
Along with "Bycicle Thieves" (from the same director Vittorio De Sica) and Roberto Rosselini's "Rome: Open City" this drama is one of the three kings of Italian Neorealism. Highly recommended.
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One of De Sica's and Italian (and probably Cinema) best films ever.
Umberto D tells about Italy in the hard and heavy moment of the post-war re-building, and in a way show a pain and a drama (I would say "tragedy) that the establishment did not want people to know then. They were all focused on telling another story, that of upcoming social and national improvement, while De Sica decided to adopt the neo-realistic approach and add an emotional and touching drama (that make this film a perfect mix of neo-realism and more personal, almost literary touch) to convey a bleak, sad vision of the current world.
But this film is much more "universal", because it talks about solitude, unjustice and the sadness of getting old.
And by telling that, De Sica shows his heart (the D in the title refers to his last name: this film is also a tribute to his beloved father), and creates a masterpiece that is not inferior to the great Bycicle Thieves, and also compete with Ozu's Tokyo Story and few other films for the best dramatic films ever made. Umberto D is like life: with no mercy but still a celebration of human being, who can reach out to what really counts when everything seem lost (one's own dignity or dog), and reminds us that the soul and the sensibility is the only thing that makes us noble. And De Sica, like his character, has proved it through this wonderful film.
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