Customer Reviews


41 Reviews
5 star:
 (26)
4 star:
 (6)
3 star:
 (3)
2 star:
 (4)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So dark, and so brilliant.
I wonder about some complaints over this DVD. The transfer is fine - it's an old, black-and-white film and for all that looks pretty darn good. Less than 5% of the dialogue is untranslated in subtitles, and as an Italian speaker I can tell you what's left out is insignificant chit chat.
See it for the fine performances, the achievement of its making, and for the...
Published on January 17, 2002 by tom

versus
43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars great film ruined by bad transfer
I agree with most of reviewer here that Roberto Rossellini's Open City is a great film - ground-breaking work that is yet entertaining in the most simple way. However, it appears that most of the reviewers refer to the VHS version. I bought this DVD the moment I heard that it was on DVD, and am much disappointed. Overall transfer is substandard, subtitles miss a bulk of...
Published on December 11, 2000 by ilian73


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars great film ruined by bad transfer, December 11, 2000
By 
"ilian73" (Los Angeles, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Open City (DVD)
I agree with most of reviewer here that Roberto Rossellini's Open City is a great film - ground-breaking work that is yet entertaining in the most simple way. However, it appears that most of the reviewers refer to the VHS version. I bought this DVD the moment I heard that it was on DVD, and am much disappointed. Overall transfer is substandard, subtitles miss a bulk of dialogues, and most of all, there is at least one missing shot that I noticed in this transfer (It is the famous shot in which the resistant is being tortured by blowtorch). I had VHS released by Connoisseur, which is superior to this DVD on every level.
So buy VHS or better yet tell Image to restore this gem.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So dark, and so brilliant., January 17, 2002
This review is from: Open City (DVD)
I wonder about some complaints over this DVD. The transfer is fine - it's an old, black-and-white film and for all that looks pretty darn good. Less than 5% of the dialogue is untranslated in subtitles, and as an Italian speaker I can tell you what's left out is insignificant chit chat.
See it for the fine performances, the achievement of its making, and for the history it portrays.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars a great film ruined by bad transfer, December 11, 2000
By 
"ilian73" (Los Angeles, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Open City (DVD)
I agree with many reviewers here that this is truly a great film. Someone mentioned that the story is melodramatic or even propagandistic, which is true, but it is really beside the point in this case. What is important here is how the simple story is told in even simpler way in this ground-breaking film, transporting the viewers to the breathtaking moments of last days of WWII in Rome. However, I think many reviews actually refer to VHS version because DVD (released by Image, I think, from Blackwell Films) is even worse than VHS (released by Connoisseur). I bought this title as soon as I heard it was on DVD, and I was much disappointed to say the least. The transfer is substandard in overall, subtitles miss whole bulk of dialogues, and most of all, there is even a missing shot from the film (It is the famous shot in which the resistant is being tortured with torchblow). My advice is: Buy VHS (Connoisseur one), or better yet ask Image for new restored release.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In the smallest list of the greatest films of all time, August 10, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Open City [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Open City is generally considered to be in the top ten films of all time in terms of historical cinematic importance, stylistic achievement, and emotional power. It established the modern film, using available light, actual settings and a mix of theatrical and non-theatrical actors. Its musical score is breathtaking. It remains the first modern film, the first Italian neo-realist film, and possibly the most powerful film ever made. I have seen it three times in a theatre. Each time, virtually the entire audience was overwhelmed, sobbing uncontrolably at the end of the picture.
There has been so much written about this picture, I will only mention a few details. It was shot in Rome using captured German newsreal film as the Nazis left town. (Which is the reason the film quality bounces around as the differing film stocks were used.) When Ingrid Bergman saw the picture, she fell in love with the director she had never met, left her husband, flew to Italy, and married Rossellini.
There are too many great scenes to list. Let me just say that the near-final scene when the little priest damns the German officer and then apologizes to God is, for me, the single greatest moment in film.
Open City should be seen and owned by anyone interested in the movies.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great film but poor subtile ( DVD version ), December 28, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Open City (DVD)
I hope Amazon can change their rating system so that I can give this film a fair rating. This is a great film ( 5 stars ) but quality of DVD is not great ( 2-3 stars )although still watchable. My biggest complaint is that Image Ent has done such a bad job on subtile which is not only brief but about 20% of dialogue were not even translated. Maybe the VHS tape version is a better choice. Just want to alert other DVD collectors.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Filmed in Anger, June 9, 2003
By 
This review is from: Open City [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I watched Jean Renoir's Grand Illusion and Rossellini's Open City one day apart. Renoir's film about WWI prisoners of war was filled with nuance, ambiguity, and a sense of now muddy the waters are in life.
Rosselini's Open City rejected nuance and ambiguity; it was an angry film and understandibly so. Yet both Rosselini's film and Renoir's film attempt to reveal what is noble in humans.
Many criticisms can be made of Rosselini's film--other reviewers have made them--but it is a film that has an impact on the viewer. But the viewer should be reminded of one of Renoir's points: to what exent does the belief in black and white and the belief that good will eventually triumph serve as a grand--but false--illusion.
The viewer of Open City should keep in mind the real world political context of the film: the resistence movement in Italy was often led by communists. This was true in many other European countries during WWII. Rossellini's film certainly presented a communist leader as noble and heroic.
This was a real problem for the US forces which displaced the Germans. Domestic communists often had the most legitimacy of all groups who resisted the Germans. US policies in the immediate post-WWII period often attempted to undercut the political standing of the communists. Some have argued that the post-war Marshall plan for the reconstruction of Europe was based on the attempt to foster pro-business groups in Europe in order to undercut the social standing of communists.
I'm sure that the US post-war European authorities hated Open City because of OC's celebration of the role of communisits.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Power Of Human Spirit, December 22, 2004
This review is from: Open City (DVD)
If you can look past the terrible transfer (understandable considering the origins of the film) and the rather limited subtitles - you will find here one of the most profound films ever made. There is not much that I can say about the power of this film because it is inexplicable - I think it is a very important film - and with what is going on in the world this is the perfect time to watch it!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Finest Pictures Ever Made, October 1, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Open City [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Open City is a film that I had heard of once, vaguely, in a magazine article, a title that for some reason had stuck in my head until I came across it in a video store years later. Interested, my memory sparked by the title, I decided to give it a try. As a film student I felt obligated to see something other than American dramas.
Having seen the film in the privacy of my studio apartment, in all the breathtaking expanse of my thirteen-inch television screen, I can only say that this film must have felt like an event to anyone who had the good fortune to see it on the big screen. I am unable to forget several of the scenes, not that I would ever want to, and much of the film's commentary is valid to this day -- a mark of a truly timeless film, one which was born out of one kind of suffering and still speaks to us this day, fifty years later.
The performances are subtle, the sentiment universal, and the cinematography precise and memorable, offering up haunting visions of hope and hopelessness for generations of people who will never have to suffer through the kind of war the Italians and countless others did in World War II. Perhaps anyone who ever considers waging war in the future should be encouraged to watch a handful of films on the subject, and perhaps Open City should be chief among them. This is a film that will stay with you long after the final scene, long after the final vision of hope is cast out and reborn.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gritty anti war flick, February 16, 2005
By 
Cory D. Slipman (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Open City [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Roberto Rossellini allows his loathing for Nazism to cry out in his disturbing anti war flick, "Open City". Filmed in recently liberated Nazi occupied Rome, the movie accounts for the actions of the Italian resistance at the conclusion of WW2.

An important leader of the resistance Giorgio Manfredi played by Marcello Pagliero is being hunted by the Germans. His friend Francesco agrees to hide him at his girlfiend Pina's flat. Pina played by the tempestuous and doe eyed Anna Magnani is aided by Don Pietro, a sympathetic priest played by Aldo Fabrizi.

All is procedding according to plan until the group is betrayed by Manfredi's addicted actress girlfriend. The very attractive Maria Michi is coaxed into informing to the Gestapo. Magnani is shot as is the priest. Pagliero is tortured to death by lecherous German Major Bergmann whose ruthlessness and disdain for compassion makes him a hated symbol of the master race. The patriotic Italians all perish taking their secrets to the grave.

Rossellini's powerful discourse on the horrors borne by the Italian people whose throats were exposed under the jackboots of Nazism stills sends a disquieting message even today.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


30 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, But Slightly Dated, June 27, 2002
This review is from: Open City [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Photographed on scraps of film abandoned by German forces as they retreated from Rome toward the end of World War II, Roberto Rossellini's OPEN CITY was immediately hailed as a masterpiece of realism when it hit screens around the world in the late 1940s. Seen within the context of its time and with reference to the circumstances under which it was made, OPEN CITY is a staggering accomplishment; even so, by modern standards, it feels visually static and slightly contrived.
The great strength of the film is in the direct way Rossellini tells his story of Italian resistance fighters trying to dodge capture by the Nazis in occupied Rome--and in the performances of Anna Magnani and Aldo Fabrizi as two Italians who become increasingly caught up in resistance activities. But time has not been entirely kind to the film: the story seems somewhat superficial, portions of it lack expected intensity, and some performances seem more than a little artificial, with a lesbian subplot, the famous torture scenes, and Maria Mitchi's performance cases in point.
Ironically, these drawbacks actually result from comparisons with later, still more realistic films that followed its example--and it is a great tribute to the strength of the film that it survives the revolution it started as well as it does. (One does well to recall that at the time OPEN CITY was made such slick Hollywood films as MRS. MINIVER were considered the height of realism.) Still, because of these issues I would hesitate to recommend OPEN CITY as an introduction to Italian neo-realism for one not already well-versed in it. But those with an established appreciation of Italian cinema will find it very rewarding.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Open City
Open City by Roberto Rossellini (DVD - 1997)
Used & New from: $6.25
Add to wishlist See buying options
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.