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Shoeshine

4.7 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Masterfully revealing post-WWII Italy, Academy Award®-winning director Vittorio De Sica (The Bicycle Thief) depicts the lives of two boys entrenched in a world of poverty and violence. Hoping to escape the harsh reality of life on the streets of Rome, Giuseppe and Pasquale spend their days shining the shoes of American troops for tips. But after the boys are sent to a brutal state juvenile detention center for a crime they didn’t commit, their lives are changed forever.

Bonus Features:
Audio commentary with author Bert Cardullo.


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Franco Interlenghi, Rinaldo Smordoni, Annielo Mele
  • Directors: Vittorio De Sica
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Entertainment One
  • DVD Release Date: May 17, 2011
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004ODLUIU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,961 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By STEVE on June 27, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film is so groundbreaking, it is difficult to find a place to begin. Shoeshine is a simple film that involves two boys, Giuseppe and Pasquale in 1945 Italy, who manage to get locked up for committing a petty crime. After being imprisoned in a youth detention center, both boys become very disillusioned and bitter over their fate.

Shoeshine has the distinction of being the very first film to win an Academy Award for best foreign film in 1946, when no Academy Awards for foreign films existed! There was not an Academy Awards classification for foreign films until 1956 !! Shoeshine was also well received at the Cannes film festival. The cinematographer, Gianpiero Brunetta remarked that this was quite a statement, since the French still harbored a lot of hostility towards the Italians after the war. Regardless of this animosity, many French film makers embraced the concept of neorealism immediately.

What is a neorealist film? As an amateur, I will do my best to describe what it is, using Shoeshine as an example. A neorealist film uses a natural background as opposed to a studio one. Amateur actors are used and the topic usually involves simple stories in a simple, somewhat impoverished setting. To enhance the simple stories, the use of camera positions and the subject's relationship to the camera are also important factors. For example, Nannarella, a frail little girlfriend of Giuseppe, is filmed walking away from the camera to the other side of the street. In a way, she could represent the rebirth of Italy after having just freed herself from fascism. In another scene, this same girl is seen looking forlorned as her two friends, Giuseppe and Pasquale are being driven away to the youth detention center.
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Format: DVD
Everybody loves this film! Seven reviews and all five stars! My crash course in the Italian Neorealismo, which has me watching a classic from the 1940s or '50s every evening, has revealed plenty of disagreement among reviewers about the merits of the tougher films, those that expose the harshness and degradation of lower class life. I guess it should be no surprise that the radical Pier Paolo Pasolini would draw fire; after all, he was murdered by rightwing extremists. But Vittorio de Sica was no radical, and this film is politically innocuous. It's the story of two boys who are earning money shining shoes in American-occupied Italy near the end of World War 2. One boy, the older, is an orphan. The younger boy, his friend, has an intact family with a grown-up brother. That big brother involves the two unsuspecting boys in a robbery; the boys are no angels, of course, and they 'think' they are merely delivering stolen American army blankets to a fence. The resourceful boys have been hoarding their money to buy a horse, and the earnings of their delivery complete the selling price. But joy is brief; the boys are nabbed, questioned, and jailed. Neither of them will 'squeal' on the big brother and his associates. Most of the film is set in a boys' penitentiary that looks like half abandoned church and half Alcatraz. The scenes in the pen are pure Charles Dickens, funny, pitiful, melodramatic in turn. "Prison makes good boys bad and bad boys worse." That's hardly a radical revelation.... and then the ending is an effective tear-jerker, which I won't disclose.

In other words, this is "neorealism" with a fairly conventional face. A sentimental film about boys in a destructive environment. The police, teh wardens, the judges, and the lawyers are all despicable, sadistic martinets.
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By Nic on November 12, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The film is dated but only when it comes to the production values. The rest of the piece is just as timely today as it was when Vittorio de Sica made this film. This probably one of the best examples of neo realism in Italian Cinema. The bond between the two boys is exceptional and then tested beyond what either of them expects. What's interesting is that de Sica never plays with this he peels the layers back and lets them resonate through the film. This is probably the best definition of "for every action there is a reaction". The performances from non professionals are short of amazing. Sometimes they seem a little over the top but in actuality when one is considering the situation they aren't over the top at all. This is de Sica at his best. Brilliant piece of work and with companion pieces such as Umberto D and The Bicycle Thief one understands what it was de Sica wanted to say.

The product was as offered. No flaws. Packaging perfect. Delivery right on time. Excellent handling by Amazon.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a review of the Entertainment One edition of Shoeshine released in May, 2011; this film is tremendous, an outstanding example of neorealism; the restored and remastered edition is superb;
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Format: DVD
Heartbreaking indeed. Masterfully constucted right at the birth of neo realism, this story can be painful to watch. However, Signor De Sica, as with all of his films, pulls it off with tremendous power and polish. You'll not see any American film like this. One of a kind, Shoeshine is a grim and bitter portrayal of downtrodden youth, namely homeless boys just trying to survive. Not for kids? Perhaps todays youth should see it. DVD is most ingratiating with commentary. Experience it.
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