Miracle In Milan  [DVD]
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Vitorrio De Sica's follow-up to 'Bicycle Thieves' won the Best Film Award at Cannes in 1951. Its fairy tale-like story concerns the plight of the poor in post-WWII Italy. A group of down-and-outs who when threatened with eviction by developers escape manage to angelic intervention, thanks to a magic dove given to Toto, a young orphan, by a fairy. The dove allows Toto to grant the beggars their wishes.
Best label 2011
"It's often the smaller-funded labels that do the best work. Arrow has released marvellous discs of many of cinema's classics, such as Bicycle Thieves, Rififi and Les Diaboliques, but it's for their horror releases that they truly excel. The more respectable directors like George A Romero and Dario Argento get their due here, but Arrow also pull out all the stops for such (unfairly) lesser regarded Gore-teurs as Lucio Fulci and Frank Henenlotter. Blu-rays of Fulci classics The Beyond and City Of The Living Dead show that the films are far more atmospheric and better made than they ever appeared before, and for Henenlotter (with the imminent Frankenhooker disc) you get extensive extras that cover the rarely examined scene of low-budget New York film-makers and the lost grindhouses of Times Square and 42nd Street."--The Guardian --This text refers to the Blu-ray edition.
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De Sica followed up the ultimately tragic "Bicycle Thieves" with this much more light hearted fable "Miracle in Milan". But it is not without De Sica's usual social concerns ie the sharp division between rich and poor, and the cynical opportuinism that big business sometimes adopts (perhaps portrayed by figures who are delibrately exaggerated, but in a very witty way).
Without going too much into the plot, our hero Toto is a young man who manages to create a shantytown for the homeless of Milan whom he truly inspires. However, once oil is discovered on the land, business and the authorities coludes to move them out. That is when the magic of the Film, starts to happen leading to a literally "divine" finale in front of Milan Cathedral.
"Miracle in Milan" although in the Neorealist tradition (particularly in the first half) is more of a charming fantasy with a considerable comedic touch.
As for the DVD itsef, the picture quality is perfectly adequte. There are some extras, but it would have been nice to have had some more. These do include charming footage of the Films premiere, with introductions from De Sica himself and leading actor Francesco Golisano.
The acting is brilliant with a handful of professionals amply supported by 100 down-and-outs (who supposedly had to be hosed down every morning to counter their hangovers). The music deserves special mention - don't be fooled by the naff cinema organ opening. It blooms into jazz, marching music and romantic schmaltz worthy of the best Hollywood budget-buster.
In short, a cinema classic that deserves to be better known. It even leaves you with a smile on your face, and that's worth a lot these days.
Other commentators have outlined the plot so there is no need to repeat their efforts, but it is enough to say that the film's central message is rather bittersweet.Building Eden on Earth is a project doomed to fail.The frailty and greed that afflicts mankind is not just a characteristic of the rich,but the poor as well.it is only through self-denial and sacrifice can the lot of everyone be improved,it seems.The messianic central character,Toto inspires the poor and homeless,to help themselves,but even given divine intervention,it doesn't take too long before matters get out of hand,with humorous results....
It is important to stress that this is a lovely fun film- whimsical,full of great characters and interesting location shots,a great holiday movie.The print quality is fair but doesn't distract from the enjoyment this film brings.
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Most recent customer reviews
wasn't made clear enough on purchase. so disappointed.
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