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La Dolce Vita (2-Disc Collector's Edition) (1961)

4.2 out of 5 stars 214 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description


Additional Features

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

Special Features

  • Fellini TV: collection of never-before-seen Fellini shorts
  • "Remembering the Sweet Life": interviews with Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg
  • "Cinecitta: The House of Fellini": musical montage of Fellini's beloved studio
  • "Fellini, Roma and Cinecitta": interview with Fellini
  • Eight-page collector's booklet with rare and hard-to-find photos from the set photographer
  • Introduction by Academy Award nominee Alexander Payne
  • Liner notes by Dennis Bartok
  • Restored mono sound, with optional stereo and 5.1 tracks
  • Restoration demo
  • Biographies
  • Filmographies
  • Photo gallery

Product Details

  • Actors: Anita Ekberg, Marcello Mastroianni, Anouk Aimee, Yvonne Furneaux
  • Directors: Federico Fellini
  • Writers: Federico Fellini, Pier Paolo Pasolini
  • Format: Widescreen, Black & White, Dolby, Digital Sound, Surround Sound
  • Language: Italian (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Koch Lorber Films
  • Run Time: 174 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (214 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JKGO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,968 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "La Dolce Vita (2-Disc Collector's Edition) (1961)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert Moore HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 8, 2003
Format: DVD
The is a movie of stunning images that taken together provide a stunning and ironical montage of "the good life." In fact, by the end I was reminded simultaneously of Thoreau's statement that the mass of people live lives of quiet desperation and Kierkegaard's belief that the natural condition of human beings is that of despair. There is no plot. The movie consists of a series of loosely or unconnected scenes with little or not attempt to link them. Many of the scenes are stunning. Some are disturbing. None of them are boring, which is remarkable given the length of the film (166 minutes).
The beginning is memorable, with a helicopter flying over Rome with a statue of Christ hanging underneath. A celebrity journalist, portrayed brilliantly by Marcello Mastroianni (the original producer, Dino de Laurentiis, pulled out of the project when Fellini refused to cast Paul Newman in the lead role), is following the statue in order to write about it, but he and his team get distracted by women sunbathing in bikinis on a rooftop. In this and many other scenes, the tremendous gap between traditional and historical symbols of meaning and current preoccupation with mere pleasure is articulated. The overwhelming sense in the film is of the tremendous triviality of these people's lives and the loss of moral purpose. There are only two exceptions in the film: Marcello's close friend Steiner, whose life is a search for meaning and truth, and a young girl Marcello first meets at a restaurant where she is a food server and then sees again in the last few moments of the film. But Steiner's search is a futile one, leading him not merely to kill himself but his two children as well. And the young girl is not merely a symbol of innocence, but of innocence lost, not to be found again.
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Format: DVD
LA DOLCE VITA is neither terrible nor overrated. There is something to be said for the pretty large number of film fans who love this one. It is an episodic film, but that is a feature of much of Fellini. In several films, Fellini builds his meaning in this way: not so much with a single continuing plot, but with a series of smaller stories that add up to a total collection of ideas.

Maybe the secret (if there is one) of LA DOLCE VITA's appeal is that it's so darned interesting all the time. This especially applies to the plot concerning Steiner. Steiner is the key figure in the film, apart from Marcello himself, who is Fellini's and the viewer's counterpart. What Steiner represents to Marcello is of prime importance. The young reporter sees the older man as a perfected, idealized version of himself. He longs to emulate Steiner and is convinced this man knows how to live life fully. There is irony aplenty in the entire Steiner narrative. When Marcello brings his wife to the Steiner party, they meet a few interesting, but mostly insufferablty pretentious 'intellectual' types. (the famous Fellini 'careless' post-dubbing of dialogue in this scene particularly amusing: it seems to add to these characters' disconnection from a true self, as though they don't even realize what they are actually saying). Steiner himself associates with these people, yet does not truly seem to be one of them. He feels trapped by his own pretentious circle of intellectuals. When Marcello tell him how much he envies and admires him, Steiner replies:

"Don't be like me. Salvation doesn't lie within four walls. I'm too serious to be a dilettante and too much a dabbler to be a professional.
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Format: DVD
My favorite Fellini film, combining the brilliant kaleidescopic parading of faces that characterize his later films with the humanistic neorealism of his earlier work. Told in a series of all-night parties that each end with the recognition of dawn, the movie tells the story of a tabloid writer who has risen to the top of his profession only to be dragged down because he can't find any sustaining meaning in the glitz and glamour.
But the story line, although more important here than in later Fellini films, is really just a device to put actors on the screen, and nobody does this better. The cast is real reason to see this; Mastroianni in the role of his life, Anouk Aimee as a bored rich woman, and Anita Ekberg spilling out of her dress as an American actress are merely the most famous - every single performance, even by the most trivial of parts, is astounding and some of the best ever captured on film. My personal favorite is the clown trumpet player with the balloons at the Cha-Cha Club - in the middle of his performance he flashes one quick look at Mastroianni that speaks volumes.
Unfortunately, the only version I have ever seen is in a standard screen ratio that is obviously badly panned - in a film this full of images there is almost more panning than actual camera movement going on, and still too much is happening off-screen. This movie needs badly to be letterboxed and given a new subtitle translation - but in the meantime, even if you have to settle for the poor VHS version, just enjoy what we have, from the awesome set pieces like the chasing of the Madonna and the final party, to the amazing Nino Rota score and the haunting organ melody of "Patricia".
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