Umberto D. (The Criterion Collection)
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- New high-definition transfer from restored elements with new and improved subtitle translation
- "This is Life: Vittorio De Sica," a 55-minute Italian television documentary
- Interview with actress Maria Pia Casilio
- New essay by critic Stuart Klawans and reprinted recollections on the film by De Sica
- Writings of Umberto D. by Umberto Eco, Luisa Alessandri, and Carlo Battisti
Top Customer Reviews
"Umberto D" is a character-driven film. It works very well because of its sharp observations on loneliness and poignant gestures. The gestures evoke powerful feelings without necessitating dialogue. Many of the scenes, even the ones that do not necessarily advance the plot, are hypnotically beautiful in their simplicity. Take, for example, a beautiful scene where Umberto finally needs to beg for money but cannot physically bring himself to do it. He extends his palm up, but when a passer-by stops to give him money, Umberto quickly flips his hand over, as if testing for rain. The film is full of these small gestures that quietly emphasize the desperate loneliness and poignancy of Umberto's situation.
The acting in this film is absolutely superb. Carlo Battisti, despite having never acted before, is wonderful as the titular character; his face is a fascinating blend of stubborn dignity and weariness of life. Maria Pia-Casilio, who plays the maid, is just as good as evoking life's loneliness and quiet desperation. The supporting cast is also very strong.
One of the very few criticisms I have heard of this film is that it is too sentimental and borderline sappy. While some scenes with Umberto and his dog Flike are sentimental, never is it "too" sentimental.Read more ›
But it was the 1952 film "Umberto D." which De Sica has said is the film which he prefers among all the films that he has made because of its "uncompromising portrayal of the characters and incidents that are genuine and true".
But "Umberto D." was a film that would become noticed now more than when it first screened in theaters in Italy. As Italy tried to move past the neorealism and wanted to show the country as healthy, "Umberto D." continued De Sica's dedication to showcase people living in poverty. According to film critic, Stuart Klawans, "Umberto D." was a film that was despised by the Christian Democratic Part's Giulio Andreotti and it was his party who had control of the government and also the movie production loans and right for pre-censorship over scripts. Andreotti went as far as saying De Sica was guilty of slandering Italy abroad.
Needless to say, the film bombed in the box office in Italy and different parts of Europe despite winning a Bodil Award for "Best European Film". But it appeared that audiences fascination with Italian neorealism was over.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A remarkable film set in post war Rome with a cast of non-professional actors. Centering on a pensioner struggling to get by with his dog , as his mean spirited landlady threatens... Read morePublished 4 months ago by R. J. Marsella
Presented with loving simplicity, Umberto D.'s poverty never overwhelms his humanity. A triumph of the human spirit. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Movie Nut
Very poignant naturalism in this Italian film from 1950's, directed by Vittorio DeSica. It is a character study of an old man who is impoverished, and only has his small dog for a... Read morePublished 13 months ago by James Clifton
This movie is on a par with Bergman's best films: The Seventh Seal, The Virgin Springs, and Wild Strawberries. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Mark Twain
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