This is my first time seeing this film; I then reviewed the DVD chapters and watched the final 30 minutes of the picture again, in the process becoming more aware of the depth of its subtext. In "Il Grido", Antonioni's maturation as a filmmaker since "Le Amiche" (1955) is in strong evidence as he maps the downward spiral of the antagonist/anti-hero Aldo. This gray, foggy film features Alida Valli as Irma, one of my favorite Italian actresses (she makes use of a Representative acting style, that is hysterical and and could even be construed as "camp", yet Valli is completely credible as a serious actress). Steve Cochran, who portrays Irma's jilted lover Aldo, is an American actor with matinee-idol looks, whose work I was previously unfamiliar with. He is believable as an Italian, and the dubbing is excellent; so good that at first I thought the various American/Anglophone actors in the film had actually learned italian for their roles! Cochran has a brutish, yet refined presence, and Antonioni definitely made good use of him in this picture.
After Aldo is rejected by Valli, the bitterness of the time wasted in his failed relationship with Irma spurs him into a kind of hobo-like existence, with his daughter Rosina (Mirna Girardi) in tow, wherein he walks a tightrope over his emotional abyss. On this journey, he encounters lost souls in various forms; Aldo's lost flame, Elvia (Betsy Blair); the gas station owner widow Virginia (Dorian Gray), the prostitute Andreina (Lyn Shaw) who lives in a shack. Aldo runs across an opportunity to start a new life in South America, but throws this chance away. During Aldo's wandering, there are touching scenes with Rosina, who tormented Aldo tries to care for in his desperate state. The scene where he puts Rosina on a bus to send her back to her mother (Irma) is especially moving. In this film, it is often between the lines, when the characters are not speaking, where one can feel the most compassion for them. This is a testament to Antonioni's ability to extract emotional power solely from the visual aspect of the film. Another highlight is Giovanni Fusco's score that is well-integrated into the picture.
Stephen C. Bird, Author of "Hideous Exuberance"