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


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Product Details

  • Format: Black & White, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Release Date: Sept. 4 2012
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B008CJ0JOS
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #48,262 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Product Description

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

Amazon.ca

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.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ian Sketney on 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 By A Customer on Jan. 10 2000
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 By A Customer on Nov. 12 2003
Format: DVD
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 By proto-European on Nov. 5 2012
Format: Blu-ray
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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Format: DVD
'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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Format: DVD
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 single viewing. Unlike other neo-realist classics such as Visconti's "La Terra Trema," this film does not work on an overtly emotional level.

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.
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