Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 14th, 2006
Theatrical Release Dates: Italy, 1946
Director: Marcello Pagliero
Writer: Ennio Flaiano
Cast: Valentina Cortese, Andrea Checchi, Nando Bruno, Vittorio De Sica
DVD released: July 25th, 2006
Approximate running time: 80 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono
DVD Release: No Shame
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
A cat burglary saves a man’s life when he breaks into his apartment. The two men realize they have a lot in common and quickly become friends. A young woman who spends most of her days and all of her nights typing is about to be evicted is she doesn’t make some money soon. The young lady decides to sell herself as a lady of the night and before she can make any money the police raid the area she is at. While fleeing from the police she bumps into the Cat Burglar and the man whose life he saved earlier in the night. They convince the police that she is with them. The three of them spend the rest of the night travel through the city.
Marcello Pagliero’s is Roma città libera a bleak look at the lives of three characters in post war Italy. The films opening scene in which one of the lead characters is about to kill himself is a bold opening that lays out his desperation in a no holds bar way. The Cat burglar who saves his life albeit by accident since he most likely didn’t plan on the man being home when he robbed him is like a guardian angel of sorts. Through out the story he also is the main instigator in helping others when they are in need like man who loses his memory or the young typist.
The films excellent score was composed by frequent Federico Fellini collaborator Nino Rota. Marcello Pagliero’s direction is even handed as it never tries to overshadow the films colorful characters and their misadventures. Cinematographer Aldo Tonti perfectly sets the films mood with his picturesque black and white photography. The acting is pretty good all around with a stand out performance by Nando Bruno who plays the cat burglar. Legendary Italian filmmaker Vittorio De Sica is delirious in the film a man who suffers from amnesia.
Ultimately Roma città libera my not one of the best examples of Italian neorealism cinema, still it is fascinating character study of the darker side of life.
Roma città libera is presented in its original 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio. This transfer has been sourced from the films original 35mm vault negative. The blacks look solid and grey scales look exceptional through out. There are some minor instances of print damage and on a few occasions the image does fluctuate ever so slightly. Also the print damage that is present looks to be inherit too the source material and not the DVD itself.
This release comes with one audio option the films original Italian language track which is presented here in a Dolby Digital mono. The audio is unfortunately not in as good of shape as the video. There is hiss which is more noticeable is some scenes more then others and the dialog sounds a tad thin at times. Removable English subtitles have been included that are easy to read and follow.
Extras for this release include the films original Italian trailer and an intro for the film with screenwriter/assistant director Luigi Filippo D’Amico. Other extras include a seven minute interview with film historian Oreste De Fornari titled “Unearthed”. Oreste De Fornari gives a solid analysis for Roma città libera. Rounding out the extras is a twenty three minute interview with screenwriter/assistant director Luigi Filippo D’Amico titled “A Life in the Movies”. Luigi Filippo D’Amico discusses working on Roma città libera and working with Marcello Pagliero and Vittorio De Sica.
No Shame has also included with this release a collectable booklet which includes bios for Vittorio De Sica and Nina Rota. The booklet also comes with a text piece about Roma città libera.
No matter how obscure the title No Shame always goes the extra mile in making it the ultimate release of each film they release. No Shame’s gives their latest release Roma città libera the red carpet treatment we have come to expect from them, recommended.
For more information about Roma città libera visit No Shame here.