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Open City [VHS]


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Product Details

  • Actors: Anna Magnani, Aldo Fabrizi, Marcello Pagliero, Vito Annichiarico, Nando Bruno
  • Directors: Roberto Rossellini
  • Writers: Roberto Rossellini, Alberto Consiglio, Federico Fellini, Sergio Amidei
  • Producers: Roberto Rossellini, Ferruccio De Martino, Giuseppe Amato
  • Format: Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: German, Italian
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Kino Video
  • VHS Release Date: June 27, 2000
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6303238114
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #578,145 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Absolutely loved this film and highly recommend it .
R. J. Marsella
It's those less important lines that give the viewer a real feeling for the film and for the development of the characters.
Mark Twain
This was true in many other European countries during WWII.
E. Nilsson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 48 people found the following review helpful By "ilian73" on December 11, 2000
Format: 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.
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful By tom on January 17, 2002
Format: 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.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By "ilian73" on December 11, 2000
Format: 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.
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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 10, 1999
Format: 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.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 28, 1999
Format: 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.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Stalwart Kreinblaster on December 22, 2004
Format: 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!
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful By E. Nilsson on June 9, 2003
Format: 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.
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