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Umberto D. (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dilys Powell's favourite film Nov. 13 2000
Format:VHS Tape
In 1980 I saw this film at Chapter Arts centre in Cardiff after a lecture from aged but legendary film critic Dilys Powell. She had Umberto D (about a man and his dog for goodness sake) down as her favourite movie of all time. And you've got to remember that she had sat through about 35,000 films in her lifetime. As you might imagine I was fairly intrigued at this prospect. The reality is that this film genuinely delivers like no other, if you like your heart shaken and stirred with something authentic. Now I cry fairly easily at movies when the going gets tough, but this one is truly in a class of its own. In fact the final scenes are so painful and poignant that even 20 years later I cannot recall them without emotion. But ironically this film leaves you feeling better than when you went in about the human spirit, and that's why I think it's ultimately so great.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A relentlessly moving film Jan. 10 2000
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
It wouldn't be easy to find a film which is more relentlessly moving than Umberto D. Although it is a fairly simple story, the power of the images and characters will remain with the viewer long after the movie ends. The film effectively draws the viewer into the life and struggles of an old man and his dog as their condition becomes increasingly desperate. It is almost painful to watch at times but it is also one of the most beautiful and unforgettable films that I have seen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No Hankies For Me July 14 2004
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. Urbanization had loosened family and other ties in Italy and indeed all over Europe, and many men in the post-war period found themselves alone in the city without anyone to turn to in times of personal crisis.
The movie opens with a group of pensioners marching through the streets of Rome demanding an increase in their pensions. After all, a new system was in place after the defeat of the old order and rampant inflation was eating away at their pensions' value. The march was broken up gently by the police and the marchers were ordered to disperse as they had no permit.
Umberto is one of these men and the film chronicles this one man's struggle with the reality of his redundancy. He eats in a soup kitchen (and gives half of his food to his dog) and his daily life revolves around trying to scrounge up enough money to bring his rent payments current by selling off his better possessions. He occasionally crosses paths with old "friends" from better days, but when they learn of his plight, they turn their backs on him.
He can't bring himself to beg. When on the brink of success at his first begging attempt, pride causes him to turn away and refuse what is offered.
He cares most for his dog Flike and for the maid in his ant-ridden penzione who befriends him. None of his half-baked attempts to come up with his rent arrears succeed including his feigning illness in order to be admitted to a charity hospital, thereby saving the meagre soup-kitchen fee for a few days.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Neo-Realism.... Nov. 12 2003
By A Customer
The problem is that it shows up all the problems and paradox's of the neo-realist doctrine. While attempting to record unfettered "reality" (real world locales, un-trained actors) it makes use of constraining dramatic devices, such as the ending on the train tracks- "highly emotional" and all, but in a way utterly false, pretentious and manipulative. Reality claims and artifice sit side by side uneasily in this one. It seems that age has merely shown up the films unabashed pandering and teasing of the audience now that the shadow of world war two seems so light and temporally removed (itself having become the subject of a far more virulent and counter-intuitive form of artifice: Hollywood doctrine). Deserves a look, but for a better example of how this general film ethos could work look up some of the 'cinema verite' of the following decades.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eternal masterpiece Nov. 5 2012
Umberto d. is one of the least known and the greatest movies ever made. It is an instant hyper-classic for the intelligent and sensitive ones (but not sensual ones). If you love animals, care about European affairs and see that history repeats itself then you will appreciate the film.
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4.0 out of 5 stars emotional vignettes at a (sad) point in time June 8 2004
By fCh
'Umberto D.' is not in the same class as 'Bicycle Thief,' its artistic predecessor, for several reasons. Telling the story of the struggle with poverty in post-war Italy twice, from a changed perspective, has less of an impact. Moreover, it is less dramatic for an elderly man, with a dog being the only dependent, than another man in his thirties/forties, with a whole family to feed, not to make ends meet. Nonetheless, this film still packs enough emotional power to move its viewer. The protagonists' acting is superb though not so much so the acting in the supporting roles. All in all, leveraging non-professionals into maintaining the emotional tension, AND into borrowing the attributes of a documentary, is a concept wonderfully illustrated by the film.
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.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
I heard that this was a great movie but I could not get into it.
Published 1 month ago by Mary H Eilts
5.0 out of 5 stars Umberto D...a masterpiece!
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 more
Published on Jan. 31 2011 by Elle
5.0 out of 5 stars The End of Neo-Realism?
Many have said that this film officially ended the great era of Italian neo-realism in film. This may or may not be so, however if true one can certainly see why after even a... Read more
Published on March 18 2004 by Jack-O-Lantern
5.0 out of 5 stars Humanity vs. The Modern World
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 more
Published on Feb. 9 2004 by C. N. Gallimore
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gentle Tragedy...
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 more
Published on Jan. 17 2004 by Kim Anehall
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
Published on Sept. 1 2003 by Robin Simmons
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest movie ever made
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 more
Published on Aug. 22 2003 by Barbara Buckley
5.0 out of 5 stars umberto d.lost in the heart of life
this is a real and simple story about an old man his dog and what life does to him,there is no fantasy here. Read more
Published on April 12 2002 by marc db
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