Like Marcello's personal odyssey through "the sweet life," this La Dolce Vita
collector's edition DVD is a little bittersweet. On the one hand, the incredible film looks and sounds fantastic. It's reassuring to see La Dolce Vita
received the remastering and restoration it deserves. The 2.35, anamorphic widescreen presentation shines and is virtually scratch- and smudge-free. Included along with the original mono soundtrack (the default setting) are newly remastered stereo and 5.1 surround soundtracks. The best extra on the set is easily the commentary. Richard Schickel is a film critic and historian who knows Fellini pretty well. If you have never seen La Dolce Vita
, or know nothing of its background, Schickel will provide a strong, basic, overall analysis. However, if you are a fan, there is probably very little that you don't already know.
Considering La Dolce Vita was such a huge international success both financially and culturally, the extras on the second disc are a little frustrating. One would think a second disc of extras would include interviews, a new featurette on production and historical significance, maybe some press, promotional footage at the time La Dolce Vita was released, or the 1961 footage of the Academy Award presentation for Best Foreign Film. What is provided is a frustrating hodgepodge of piecemeal interviews and lost video footage that provide little insight to Fellini's classic. The "Remembering the Sweet Life" documentary is merely a 6.5-minute interview with Anita Ekberg shot in 1987 for Italian television, merged with 2 minutes of footage from 1990's Mostra di cinema di Venezia where Felllini presents Marcello Mastroianni a lifetime achievement award, a 2.5-minute interview with Marcello Mastroianni (1990), and a 2-minute clip of Fellini's Intervista in which the aged Ekberg and Mastroianni are watching themselves in La Dolce Vita. That's it! "The Cinecitta: The House of Fellini" is nothing more than a montage of video footage from Fellini's office set to music. The "Fellini, Roma and Cinecitta" interview is simply a videotaped interview of Fellini and a reporter (circa 1990) as they walk through the streets of Rome. For 6 minutes, Fellini pretty much just describes why he loves Rome. Yes, it will inspire you to take a trip to Rome, but will not tell you anything about La Dolce Vita. The bulk of the DVD extras is "Fellini TV: A Collection of Never Before Seen Shorts." At the start of the segment is a note from Fellini saying this is footage that was cut from Fred and Ginger. He does not necessarily want to show it, but if anyone does, he hopes it doesn't embarrass him. Only a hardcore Fellini fan will get very much satisfaction from this feature. --Rob Bracco