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3.8 out of 5 stars
Journey To Italy [1953] [DVD]
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Having seen the Journey to Italy by Rossellini for the 1st time I was struck by its depiction of a couple's unhappiness,Alex(George Sanders) and Katherine( Ingrid Bergman),after they come to Italy on holiday for the purpose of selling his uncle's villa near Naples and going sight-seeing.It's a gentle film that manages to open up Katherine to the splendours and wonders of the pagan past in statues,catacombs,the cave of the Cumaean Sibyl, Pompeii,hot lava around Vesuvius.She realises her husband would rather go to Capri and be with his friends, so they spend some time apart. She hates his cynicism and arrogance,his always thinking he's in the right.She remarks to him after seeing some pagan statues how without shame the works of art are. She is disturbed by the visible fertility of the Italian women on the streets - there don't seem to be any who aren't pregnant - and she remembers a poet she once knew who had a few platitudes to offer about death and ruins and the like. But her heart is not in this romance with reminders of time and mortality any more than Alex is really going to go philandering.George Sanders plays boredom and blandness to perfection, mixing them up.Their only pleasure comes at snapping at each other,or being jealous if they think their partner is enjoying the company of the opposite sex.

All this comes across so clearly because neither of these actors is all that comfortable in the roles they have, and their ineptness/anxiety begins to look like a truth about the marriage, and the fact that they're out of their element in a foreign country, aliens in a neo-realist Italy.It's as if you' re watching a real life marriedcouple. Rossellini doesn't dramatize this.He allows you to see their discomfort,and gradually he makes us aware of something affecting this couple:sounds of people laughing,talking, street-vendors, drifting up from below,that seep into their subconscious and senses,a strange elusive presence,painful,but they're beginning to feel things again and Rosselini makes us a part of their experience.At the museum this background presence suddenly reveals itself to us-Italy and its ancient past.This past is everywhere and it's very much alive.Nothing is explained. Rossellini is like a scientist,he sets up 2 people in a foreign land and sees how they react,cope. Small details are allowed toaccumulate not high drama.When Katherine 1st opens her eyes,she's not prepared for Italy and its effect on her.Alex keeps resisting,trying to avoid his feelings. The contrast is not high -lighted. She's moved at the catacombs by all these lives that have come and gone before hers.Real people who enjoyed life and suffered like her, not relics.The small details and events are the movie.You realize they have no children, when she sees children.

When Alex returns to Naples and he's not yet ready to see his wife and she pretends to be asleep then startsasking him questions,the dialogue between the 2 is less important than the feelings behind it,the essence of Journey to Italy.Pompeii is the very 1st time in the film they visit a site together.The uncovered body-casts of what seems like a married couple just at the moment they died affects them both. The final scene shows Katherine figuratively swept away by an environmental tide of emotional abandonment at the religious procession.They find themselves through the passion and chaos of life thrown once again upon each other's mutual need. A revolutionary film inspiring the New Wave's improvisation,experimentalism.Rossllini's introduction of the environment as a dynamic character in the lives of a married couple in crisis paved the way for the cinema of Antonioni.Above all this was a shot across the bows to Hollywood actors to strip away the actorly,left stranded in the modern world, picked out unawares by the camera,shocked by reality's energy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 January 2015
I can't say I enjoyed the foreground of this film, depicting a marriage in decline. Yet the sight of Southern Italy in all its glory would be satisfying enough to sustain my attention throughout, even if it were not for the brilliant acting of both protagonists,

The palpably aching emotional and sexual void between the couple, contrasted with the fecundity of Italy - not simply the device of the pregnant women who dominated the pavements, while the couple sat impotently in the car, but also the beauty and life of the place, compared with the emotional void and pent up anger and frustration of the couple. This was illustrated by the obvious wealth of the couple, the car, their clothes, their style, which could not even begin to compare with the life of the streets, the magnificent architecture and the art. Who could not be moved by all this?
I believe that this was the point of the film, in many ways: Italy as aphrodisiac; as nourishment for the eye,the mind and the libido. For the couple, the stiff upper lip was not sustainable in such surroundings. Something had to give.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
An English couple (Ingrid Bergman, George Sanders) travel to Naples in order to dispose of a house owned by a recently deceased relative. This journey precipitates a crisis in their relationship which is exacerbated by the relaxed and sensual Neapolitan atmosphere which contrasts with their sterile marriage. This uneven examination of a troubled bourgeois marriage contains many powerful moments. Derided upon its initial release, the film's reputation has since been embraced by the likes of Francois Truffaut and Martin Scorsese. The director, Roberto Rossellini, uses the historical landscape of Pompeii and Vesuvius as a metaphor for both the decay and lack of life (the couple have no children) in their marriage. Cinematically speaking, the highlights of the film are the four visits to cultural and historical sites: the museum, the caves, the sulfur pits and Vesuvius itself. Bergman and Sanders are quite good with Sanders in a refreshing change of pace from his jaded cad roles. Still, what is one to make of the abrupt and emotionally false "happy" ending which comes in the last two minutes of the film? I saw the 81 minute cut which seems to be the only available version of the film which might explain the phony ending. Apparently, the original cut was around 97 minutes.

The BFI release from Great Britain is a very nice transfer in the proper 1.33 aspect ratio.
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on 13 April 2015
A product of it's era. Bought and watched this so long ago (only just got prompted to review it now), Bleak. Good scenery, but the fact that it's B&W doesn't make the most of that. Not that that is what the film is about. In a nutshell it's probably about freedom and mismatched couples and age difference and stuffiness paired with a yearning for excitement.
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23 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on 21 July 2005
This, in my opinion, is one of Rosselini's finest works. The BFI edition is a very good transfer however it was a disappointment to learn that it has been dubbed into english.
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on 3 September 2014
The acting wasn't very good really.....the script was lacking in impact
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 20 November 2010
This comment relates to the comment already made. The item is listed as having both English and Italian as languages. I assume the original language of the film is Italian. If this is so, I would also assume that it would be possible to play the Italian original with English subtitles. Am I correct or is only the dubbed English version on this DVD? If so, why does the description mention Italian?
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8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 12 January 2011
Rossellini's Journey to Italy is one of the more interesting and rare "Art Films" of the early 1950s. While an interesting effort overall, ultimately comes across as a rather muddled (and occasionally pretentious) character study of a bored married couple. The crux of the film stems (or shall I say, slowly 'seeps') from the clashing, not only of the married couple with each other (within a foreign land, mind you) but also with the past, and the prospect of a very uncertain future (divorce is strongly considered several times). The film is very demanding, not intellectually or emotionally, necessarily, but in terms of patience. If one is patient enough to sit through the entire film without looking away or pulling out some electronic device or cell phone (I was, not going to lie) they will be rewarded with a few uncontrived moments of insight, beauty and even downright knowledge.
Bads: Meandering and poorly scripted. The performances are subsequently rather weak, and even the actors themselves seem confused by their lines.
Goods: Uncontrived, insightful, and very distinct in style. Is also an interesting and occasionally beautiful homage to the landscapes and history of Italy.
***3.5/5***
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 July 2013
The stars are stars in the true sense of the word and their performances are accordingly smooth and professional. A very enjoyable film
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 24 March 2014
We are devoted admires of the lovely Ingrid Bergman but this was dated and slow and didn't engage.Which was sad.
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