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Il Generale Della Rovere (The Criterion Collection)

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Mar 31, 2009)
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The Criterion Collection
$148.90 $44.13

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In a magnetic performance, Vittorio De Sica is Bardone, an opportunistic rascal in wartime Genoa, conning and cheating his fellow Italians, exploiting their tragedies by promising to help find their missing loved ones in exchange for money. But when the Nazis force him to impersonate a dead partisan general in prison to extract information from fellow inmates, Bardone finds himself wrestling with his conscience for the first time. Roberto Rossellini s gripping drama, among his most commercially popular films, is further evidence of the compassionate artistry of one cinema s most important voices.

New, restored high-definition digital transfer
New video interviews with Isabella, Renzo, and Ingrid Rossellini, as well as film scholar Adriano Aprà
New visual essay by Tag Gallagher, author of The Adventures of Roberto Rossellini
Original theatrical trailer
New and improved English subtitle translation
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic James Monaco and an excerpt from a 2000 interview with Indro Montanelli, author of the story that inspired the film


Heartrending, rank with the best of Italian films. --New York Times

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Baronessa Barzani, Vittorio Caprioli, Ivo Garrani, Mary Greco, Hannes Messemer
  • Directors: Roberto Rossellini
  • Format: Black & White, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: March 31, 2009
  • Run Time: 132 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001O549FM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #160,128 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Il Generale Della Rovere (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

I really wasn't too sure what to expect when I sat down to watch "General Della Rovere" this evening. The notes suggested that I would be watching a movie about a scoundrel. It didn't take long to find out that I was, in fact, watching a movie about a scoundrel. But oh what a scoundrel! There was an aspect to the preformance of Vittorio de Sica that oozed the suave, debonaire, coolness of a man who wanted others to know that he long as the money is paid up front. Our "hero" Bardone runs a sort of war-time Ponzi scheme with all the promises and down payments. It doesn't take long to realize that there's only one person Bardone really cares about. Heck, I even caught myself sensing an inner heart of gold just before another sucker gets taken. All along I found myself engrossed in this man, his victims and the others who played a role in his theatre.

Eventually, things take a turn in a variety of ways. At that point I had no idea what was going to be the outcome. As a favor to you, I'll let you have the same opportunity. I was more than satisfied with the ending although it wasn't exactly what I expected.

There is a professionalism to "General Della Rovere" that had it scoring high in my book. The directing, the interpositioning of newsreel footage and cinematic creation, the sense of uncertainty, the excellent preformances from top to bottom; all this and more was very impressive. Above all was the role of Vittorio de Sica whose mascarade had already fooled us enough times that we were on our own as to what to believe about him. I kept trying to figure out where I had seen the German Colonel before until I recalled that he was the camp commander in "The Great Escape". His performance in this film was equally compelling.
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Despite all the fuss over Roberto Rossellini's "War Trilogy" - particularly since those films jump started Italian Neorealism - this film may be Rosselini's best. The difference is that Vittorio De Sica (another giant of neorealism) is the main actor and he gives a tremendous, interesting, seductive, even profound performance.

The movie is about the evolution of morality in an individual- a man who is a loathsome gambler and con-artist who manipulates innocents trying to seek some aid, any aid, to help their loved ones in Nazi captivity. He accepts money to make them believe he has contacts with the Nazis and can help their relatives. When the scoundrel is captured and revealed for the lier that he is, he is turned over to a German police colonel in Italy. But that officer is clever. He even appreciates the skill used to betray others. So the colonel offers him a job. He believes that he can use this "con artist" to get information from partisans in prison and cover up the mistake of his staff in killing the real partisan leader - Generale Della Rovere. And so the anti-hero whose trade is "the lie" is hired to impersonate "the Generale".

But once in prison, our scoundrel learns the true meaning of love for country and love for family. Indeed he discovers for himself that ordinary Italian men are willing to endure torture to save "his skin" [In making this sacrifice, they earnestly believe he is the Generale]. And so the character changes and grows in humanity. I won't give the ending of the film away... but I thought this movie was as strong an entry of Italian Neorealism as any other picture of the genre. It's a true masterpiece that is overlooked.
Comment 3 of 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Roberto Rossellini may be the single most under-appreciated director in the history of cinema. While Fellini has risen to god-like status, Rossellini remains rather obscure to the vast majority of modern film viewers, and that's a shame. Bertolucci, Antonioni, Visconti, etc, have all received more attention in the age of DVD, while Rossellini's films have been practically ignored. But, as Martin Scorsese once said: "He is the father of us all," and that oversight is finally being rectified. As chic as the New Wave remains, the neo-realism of Rossellini is one of the most enlightening, powerful, and exciting eras in cinema.

This absorbing look at the Italian resistance during World War II rates among his more interesting films. Though not as arresting as his earlier Roberto Rossellini's War Trilogy (Rome Open City/Paisan/Germany Year Zero) (Criterion Collection) (Which is also available from Criterion as of January, 2010, and may be the single greatest release from the esteemed company!), it is nonetheless riveting in its own unique way. Again he makes use of old footage and finds piles of rubble to add to the sense of the time. The humor is dark, but then so were the times, and the final act really comes together as our faulty hero reassesses his life and his place in a nation being torn apart by war. De Sica is truly magnificent here, and he alone is reason enough to give this a thumbs of the great performances of his career - and remember, while an esteemed director, he also acted in over 150 films!
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