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Automobile / L'Automobile
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2012
Until Anna Magnani, there was a different style of acting. Acting style before Magnani consisted of uptight WASPs, i.e., Katherine Hepburn; Greer Garson; Deborah Kerr. When Magnani burst on the scene in the late 1940's and early 1950's she exposed not only a different type of acting but an insight into a different culture. A Mediterranean culture and style.

Anglo-Americans had never seen such a thing before on the big screen. Magnani was more than a mere actress; she was a representation of a different way of life, a Mediterranean woman in cinema. Katherine Hepburn, for all her talents, is not a Mediterranean woman. Neither is Greer Garson nor Deborah Kerr nor Ingrid Bergman nor Vivian Leigh nor Bette Davis nor Joan Crawford nor any other actress before Magnani.

That is what makes L'Automobile so compelling: a Roman actress acting in the heart of Rome.
Watch and study this film. Watch and study Magnani. You will be more than entertained; you will be enlightened. This is " la donna meno Americanizzato nel mondo" the least "Americanized" woman in the world. You will be watching a true Roman in her environment. You will learn more about Italian culture, specifically Roman culture, by studying this woman. Everything she does is natural. Everything she does seems (I write "seems" because she IS acting) so real. Magnani is so ROMAN!!
She is so Italian !!
That is why Magnani will always be the greatest actress because she is more than an actress. She is the embodiment of Rome.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
In 1971, a three film mini-series ("L'Automobile, "1943: Un incontro" and "La Sciantosa") which aired on Italian television and would feature the work of filmmaker/writer Alfredo Giannetti ("Divorce Italian Style", "Il ferroviere", "A Man of Straw"), the music of Ennio Morricone ("The Untouchables", "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly", "Once Upon a Time in the West") and most notably the final year of acting for renown actress Anna Magnani.

For many cineaste and those who have watched many Italian Neo-Realism films, Anna Magnani is an actress who was important to cinema as she was known for her roles such as Roberto Rossellini's "Rome, Open City" (1945), Luchino Visconti's "Bellissima" (1951), Daniel Mann's "The Rose Tattoo" (1955), Sidney Lumet's "The Fugitive Kind" (1959) and Pier Paolo Pasolini's "Mamma Roma" (1962) to name a few.

So, for many cinema fans, 1971 was the final year to watch Anna Magnani and suffice to say, many fans tuned in.


"L'Automobile" is presented in 1:33:1, color and and monaural Italian with English subtitles.

Picture quality for a 1971 film is actually very good, as the film doesn't look like an early '70s film in the fact that it's not that aged. In fact, the film looks a lot better than some '90s films that I have watched on video, so the overall picture quality is pretty good for its age, considering the film is 40-years-old and is a TV film.

Audio is monaural, Italian dialogue was clear as with Ennio Morricone's score. English subtitles are white and easy to read.


"L'Automobile" comes with the following special features:

Original Trailer - (1:44) The original theatrical trailer for "L'Automobile".
Video Introduction - (16:34) Featuring a video introduction by Mario Sesti (film critic and curator of the International Rome Film Festival).
PDF Booklet - Featuring a wonderful 12-page booklet which includes a film analysis by Bruno Di Marino, "Cinema according to Anna Magnani" from "Arianna" (1963) and "L'Europe" (1973) and "Two or Three Things about `Nannarella'" by Patrizia Pistagnesi, "Hommage a Anna" (1989).


Anna Magnani has had a long career of impressive films and working with the best directors and writers in the business. Beloved in Italy, adored by cineaste and even winning an Oscar for "Best Actress" for the 1955 film "The Rose Tattoo". She was an amazing actress who was compared to Greta Garbo because of her acting and came to the United States and won various awards.

But by the early '70s, Magnani health would be at a decline and 1971 would be the final year of the actress who would die of pancreatic cancer in 1973.

While those who have never watched a Magnani film would probably look at "L'Automobile" as standard '70s cinema and a slice-of-life tale about an older woman buying her first automobile and venturing outside of the city with it.

But Anna Magnani as an actress who had worked in post-war Italian neorealism films, she comes from the old Italy who saw how her beloved city has changed. From the automobile was a sign of economic prosperity of the '60s and by the '70s, everyone has one and the city has become nothing but a 24/7 traffic jam.

And in 1971, French filmmaker Jacques Tati also depicted this in his 1971 film "Trafic" featuring his character Monsieur Hulot who came from the old country of France and had to get used to the modernizing of society and its dependence on the automobile.

But watching the film, actress Magnani is able to capture this disenchantment of life and society through her career with remarkable efficacy and perhaps this film of an older Magnani was evident that the actress still has it. She demonstrates genuine emotions and expressions that make you believe in the character.

Sure, "L'Automobile" is a televised movie and part of a trilogy. It is comedy but also statement to Italian society from a generation who saw the city of Rome transformed into a near immobile parking lot. And while there are more impressive Anna Magnani films out there, her 1971 films including "L'Automobile" would show that no matter if she was succumbing to pancreatic cancer, no matter if it was an older Anna on film, because it was on television, a large audience would get to experience Anna Magnani, actress extraordinaire that was able to play a character and become it.

As for the DVD from RaroVideo, the picture quality is in very good shape considering it's a '70s film and has no signs of the usual aging film. As mentioned, I have seen '90s films that look its age and for "L'Automobile", aside from clothing and the music played by a live band at the beginning of the film, the film doesn't look terrible as you would expect from a '70s TV film. So, this new digitally restored "L'Automobile" looks very good on DVD.

And as far as special features go, you get a verbose video introduction from film critic Mario Sesti and a PDF booklet of Bruno Di Mariono's critical analysis of the film and more.

With that being said, I enjoyed "L'Automobile" and felt that Anna Magnani gave an amazing performance. There are magnificent films that she starred in from the past which overshadows this 1973 film and while her performance was great, including her interaction with actor Vittorio Caprioli, the scenes leading up to the finale felt a bit rushed and made me wonder if that was because they had to create TV films in a set amount of time.

Nevertheless, because it is a televised film, I'm grateful to RaroVideo for bringing it out on DVD. But I do hope that the the other two films in the trilogy "1943: Un incontro" and "La Sciantosa" will be released on DVD in the near future.

Overall, "L'Automobile" is still a must purchase for cineaste who adore actress Anna Magnani. It's one thing to watch the films from her past, especially films that she was best known for but to have the opportunity watch her later, final work for me, for a cineaste who have watched many films that she has starred in, having the opportunity to watch Anna Magnani in "L'Automobile" as one of her final films, on DVD in the U.S., I am grateful to RaroVideo for making it possible.

One of the final films featuring one of the greatest actresses of cinema, Anna Magnani. "L'Automobile" (The Automobile) showcases the actresses in another amazing performance, but it's also a '70s film that makes a statement to Italian society of its dependence on the automobile. A televised film that was a sign of the times, but still a film demonstrating Magnani's brilliance as an actress.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 22, 2013
The last work of a great actress! Anna Magnani was a force of nature, like Bette Davis! Her earthiness, her eyes, and her depth of emotion was unequalled! This is a story made for Italian television, and it is sort of heartbreaking!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2014
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