Umberto D. (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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Umberto D. (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
Umberto D. is one of the enduring masterpieces of Italian neorealism, considered by many to be one of the greatest films ever made. Everything that neorealism represents can be found in this simple, heartbreaking story of an aged Roman named Umberto (played by Carlo Battisti, non-professional actor and retired college professor) who struggles to survive in a city plagued by passive disregard for the post-World War II plight of the elderly. With his little dog, Flike, as his only companion, Umberto faces imminent eviction, and his insufficient pension and failed attempts to raise money lead him to contemplate suicide... if he can find a home for Flike. His dilemma--and director Vittorio De Sica's compassionate, unsentimental handling of it--results in a film of uncompromising grace and authenticity. Like De Sica's earlier masterpieces Shoeshine and The Bicycle Thief, Umberto D. earns its teardrops honestly; if this timeless classic doesn't make you smile and cry, you'd better check for a pulse. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to the DVD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
There is not much of a story to talk about in this film. A retired old man, former bureaucrat in the Mussolini's regime, has a hard time in keeping up with the new times: a pension smaller than the rent for a room in a house, people around him who either cannot help or do not care to, and the announced eviction. There is a mix of dignity and egotistical stubbornness that makes the viewer oscillate between empathy and reprobation towards this character. On the other hand, the young maid is representative for a new social trend: young, uneducated, compassionate, and, by comparison with the old man at least, with relaxed morals. Again, this film is about the complex emotions developing around the main character(s) and less about a story.
As for the whole noise passing as commentary, coming from the left though not always, one may well ignore it. To this point, I found it interesting that, in real life, Maria Pia charged the producers 2 Mil.Read more ›
Umberto D. is not, shall we say, a particularly sentimental character. He has been hardened emotionally not only by poverty, but also by the callousness of those around him, who are more interested in getting on with the business of post-war reconstruction. As such, Umberto has virtually lost touch with humanity (with notable exceptions such as the maid, whom he can honestly count as a friend). Umberto is thus not particularly likeable, and what's left of his better nature is lavished on his dog, rather than on people. Umberto is also not particularly in touch with his peers, elderly pensioners who have planned well for their old age and thus are not in the same desperate situation as he.
Why is Umberto 15,000 lire in debt to his landlady? Why hasn't he paid the rent for over a year? And as such, can we honestly fault the supposedly "evil" landlady for kicking this man out of her home? After all, he's not exactly a nice guy, and neither has he paid her for his living arrangements for quite a long time. It's thus taking the easy way out to see Umberto solely as a victim of society...he is also a victim of the mismanagement of his own life.
And this, rather than any overtly sentimental issue, is what makes this film so devastatingly haunting. While watching this film, I could only think, "There but for the grace...go I.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I heard that this was a great movie but I could not get into it.Published 17 months ago by Mary H Eilts
What a wonderful film. I must say this is one of my favorites. A classic, that should not be missed. This film truly pulls at your heart! I always tear up when I watch it. Read morePublished on Jan. 31 2011 by Elle
The story line of Umberto D. could be the story of any man in any western country caught up in old age by changes he couldn't understand without sufficient resources to survive. Read morePublished on July 14 2004 by Kurt Harding
The master of Italian Neo-Realist cinema, DeSica, creates with Umberto D. one of the finest films of his career (I will not say his finest because I am torn between this movie and... Read morePublished on Feb. 9 2004 by C. N. Gallimore
De Sica made this film in memory of his father, however, it could be about any old man that enters retirement with a limited budget. Read morePublished on Jan. 17 2004 by Swederunner
New on DVD (August 03), this exceptional film strikes an emotional chord with universal truths.
Among the greatest of films, Vittorio De Sica's UMBERTO D (Criterion) tells the... Read more
Not much more needs to be said. There's no need to gild this lilly, the greatest film ever made. The dog's name is Flag, not Flike! Read morePublished on Aug. 22 2003 by Barbara Buckley