Umberto D. [Criterion Collection] [DVD] [1952]

Vittorio De Sica's 1952 Italian neorealist classic Umberto D. comes to DVD as part of the Criterion Collection. Presented in the original black-and-white with a high-definition full-frame transfer made from restored elements. Italian soundtrack is offered in Dolby Digital Mono 1.0 with improved English subtitle translation. Special features start off with the hour-long documentary made for Italian TV in 2001 entitled That's Life: Vittorio De Sica, a retrospective of the director's career featuring behind-the-scenes footage from many of his films. Other special features include an interview with actress Maria Pia Casilio, essay by critic Stuart Klawans, and a reprinted recollection on the film by De Sica. Also contains various writings by De Sica, Umberto Eco, Carlo Battisti, and Luisa Alessandri.
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Overview

Special Features

  • New high-definition digital transfer, made from restored elements
  • That's Life: Vittorio De Sica, a 55-minute documentary made for Italian television in 2001
  • New video interview with actress Maria Pia Casilio
  • New essay by critic Stuart Klawans and reprinted recollections on the film by De Sica
  • Writings on Umberto D. by Umberto Eco, Luisa Alessandri, and Carlo Battisti
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition

Synopsis

Umberto D.
Frequently mentioned on lists of masterpieces of modern cinema, Vittorio De Sica's Umberto D. transforms a simple character study into a painfully poignant drama. Umberto is an aging former civil servant, now retired on his scant government pension. He spends his time in his tiny room in Rome, with only his longtime pet dog for companionship. His lonely life only grows worse when his limited income forces him to fall behind on his rent, leading his landlady to threaten him with eviction. He makes a desperate attempt to raise the needed money and protest the unfair treatment of senior citizens to the government, but he receives little response. His one chance at human contact, through brief conversations with a pregnant servant, proves sadly disappointing. Indeed, Umberto slowly becomes convinced that the situation may be hopeless, and he ultimately considers committing suicide. Considered one of the high points of Italian neo-realist cinema, Umberto D. provides the ultimate example of the movement's unadorned, observational style, which emphasizes the reality of events without calling attention to their emotional or dramatic impact. The unschooled, natural performances also contribute to the film's feeling of verisimilitude, particularly the lead performance by non-actor Carlo Battisti. ~ Judd Blaise, Rovi

Cast & Crew

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    Carlo Battisti - Umberto Domenico Ferrari
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    Maria Pia Casilio - Maria
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    Lina Gennari - Landlady
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    Ileana Simova - Surprised Woman
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    Elena Rea - Sister
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