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La Strada [DVD] [1954]

4.3 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Giulietta Masina, Anthony Quinn, Richard Basehart, Aldo Silvani, Marcella Rovere
  • Directors: Federico Fellini
  • Format: PAL, Subtitled, Mono, Full Screen, Black & White
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Studiocanal
  • DVD Release Date: 4 July 2005
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007SMDD2
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 19,369 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

Classic Italian drama co-written and directed by Federico Fellini. The film follows Gelsomina (Giulietta Masina), a young girl who is sold by her impoverished mother to a travelling performer named Zampano (Anthony Quinn) in exchange for some food. With his act involving breaking a metal chain wrapped around his chest, Zampano attempts to incorporate Gelsomina into his routine by teaching her to perform a drum roll as part of his introduction. However, when the pair join up with a small travelling circus, fellow performer Il Matto (Richard Basehart) soon questions the way Zampano treats Gelsomina, leaving her facing a number of tough choices as she contemplates her future. The cast also includes Aldo Silvani, Marcella Rovere and Livia Venturini.

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Considered by many to be Federico Fellini's most beautiful and powerful film, La Strada was the first film to reveal the range of Guilietta Masina, whose poignant performance as the childlike Gelsomina recalls Chaplin's Little Tramp. The bubbly, waiflike Gelsomina is a simpleton sold to the gruff, bullying circus strongman Zampanò (Anthony Quinn) as a servant and assistant. Treated no better than an animal, Gelsomina nonetheless falls in love with the brute Zampano. When they join a small circus they meet Il Matto (Richard Basehart), a clown who enchants Gelsomina and relentlessly taunts Zampanograve;, whose inability to control his hatred of Il Matto (literally, "the Fool") leads to their expulsion from the circus and eventually to the film's fateful conclusion. Masina is heartbreaking as the wide-eyed innocent, whose generous spirit and love of life leads her to try to "save" Quinn's unfeeling, brutal Zampanò. Though the film resonates with mythic and biblical dimensions, Fellini never loses sight of his characters, lovingly painted in all their frailties and failings. Fellini's lyrical style reaches back to the simple beauty of his neorealist films and looks ahead to the impressionistic fantasies of later films, but at this unique period in Fellini's career, they combine to create a poetic, tragic masterpiece. --Sean Axmaker --This text refers to the VHS Tape edition.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
For anyone who likes foreign language films, La Strada is essential viewing. Winner of the Best Foreign Film Oscar in 1956, as well as numerous other awards, it is brilliant at every level. Superbly directed by Fellini and wonderfully acted by Anthony Quinn as the brutal strongman and Giuletta Masina as the fool with the heart of gold, sold into virtual slavery by her own mother, it features some stunning locations as the strongman and his "slave" embark on their beautiful, yet melancholy, odyssey through the backroads of Italy.
It is a film that you can watch time and time again. It may be viewed as a simple "road movie", but it also operates at a deeper level as an allegorical quest for the very essence of life. La Strada is, quite simply, a masterpiece.
On a technical note, the sound and picture quality of this VHS version are excellent, and the subtitles are always very clear.
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By Keith M TOP 500 REVIEWER on 6 Mar. 2013
Format: DVD
Fellini's 1954 masterpiece La Strada is as good an example as any in cinema of the maxim 'less is more'. The film's depiction of a simple human story via its mix of comedy, realism, romance and tragedy is both affecting and emotionally devastating, and is superbly portrayed by Fellini's cast, not least of which is Giulietta Masina's (Mrs Fellini) heartfelt turn as Gelsomina, a young woman whose family's poverty forces her to leave home and take up with 'strolling player' and circus strongman Zampano (played with increasing emotional complexity and subtlety by Anthony Quinn). In fact, to think that the child-like Masina was actually 33 years old when the film was made is quite astonishing.

Indeed, although Fellini's film could be regarded 'simply' as a human emotional tragedy, the director has imbued it with a realism signifying wider social relevance, as cinematographer Otello Martelli captures its poverty stricken (mixed urban and rural) milieu brilliantly in its southern central Italian locations, as well as including religious themes in its memorable scenes of a Catholic procession and Zampano and Gelsomina's overnight stay at a convent. Fellini also makes a darkly comic comment on Italy's renowned strong family bonding, during the film's brilliant opening sequence as Gelsomina's mother criticises her daughter ('She's a bit strange') and is quite willing to take Zampano's 10,000 lire to allow Gelsomina to join him on his travels ('We can mend the roof and eat for a time'). It is during these early scenes where the Gelsomina character's comic influence is most obvious (Charlie Chaplin) - as are the film's influences from silent film generally, with its focus on physical, visual comedy - and during which Gelsomina learns of Zampano's brutal (and womanising) nature.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
It's a great great movie, But the picture wasn't as sharp as it could have been. I have seen a sharper version.
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Another Fellini classic.
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Format: DVD
This is so different from the other, later, Fellini movies that I've seen -- "Amarcord" and "La Dolce Vita" -- that I was quite surprised. The later two are satirical exposes of the shortcomings of post-war Italian masculinity; this earlier one, although set in post-war Italy too, strikes me as much more humanely involving and, at the same time, almost mythic in its clear schematic structuring. The bare bones of the story are of a rather brutish itinerant entertainer called Zampano (Anthony Quinn), who travels around the countryside giving displays of strength to small crowds in provincial towns who are willing to see him break iron chains by flexing his pectoral muscles. He's a bit like Canio in "Pagliacci" in his volatility and potential for violence. At times, he hooks up with small circuses and does his act as part of the circus's entertainment. His female partner has died (we learn as the story opens), and Zampano in effect buys her sister Gelsomina (Guilietta Masini) from their mother as a replacement. This is the first hint of the economic stringencies of post-war Italy, looked at from the point of view of a class well below what we see in the later films mentioned above, and it is to that class that Zampano and the small circuses that he joins with appeal. Gelsomina is simple-minded, to use an old-fashioned phrase that seems right for the time of the film, but she's sweet, and she discovers, as she travels around, a talent for attracting and appealing to audiences with what seems like almost a Chaplinesque, "little tramp" kind of shtick. Zampano needs that talent -- for she is, in effect, his way of attracting a paying audience -- and yet seems to resent the easy rapport that Gelsomina establishes, and he treats her brusquely and sometimes cruelly.Read more ›
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By Bob Salter TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 Sept. 2009
Format: DVD
Federico Fellini had a firm belief that to truly understand what was at the deep core of the Christian faith, then one also had to know the importance that love towards your fellow human beings played in that religion. He felt this was so important that all his films revolved around this fundamental belief. It is a belief I share, for without love we are lost souls. "La Strada" is a film that showcases his beliefs and much much more. The other virtues of charity, grace, devotion and salvation also come under the microscope.

The story concerns a young girl Gelsomina, played by Giulietta Masina who is sold by her poverty stricken mother into virtual bondage to Zampano a circus strongman, played by Anthony Quinn. We then follow her travels with Zampano on the road. Zampano is a brutish insensitive bully with no redeeming features. He is happy to steal from and assault people with little or no provocation. Much of his time is spent drinking and in the pursuit of any women that will fall for his dubious charms. But somehow the simple minded Gelsomina comes to love him despite the cruel way in which she is treated. Her innocence and optimism is never broken by Zampano. On the way she meets a circus acrobat played by Richard Basehart who changes her outlook on life. Events lead to an inevitable tragic finale.

Fellini wrote the role of Gelsomina for his actress wife Masina. It was certainly a juicy role which she made the most of and steals the acting honours, which is quite an achievement given the performances of Quinn and Basehart who were very good indeed. Masina's facial expressions and her body movements are certainly reminiscent of the silent comedians as has been pointed out in the past.
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