Ivan Cavalli (Leopoldo Trieste) brings his new wife Wanda (Brunella Bovo) to Rome on the least romantic honeymoon in historya rigid schedule of family meetings and audiences with the Pope. But Wanda, dreaming of the dashing hero of a photo-strip cartoon, drifts off in search of the White Sheik, thus setting off a slapstick comedy worthy of Chaplin. The style and themes which made Federico Fellini world famous are already apparent in this charming comedy (his first solo directorial effort), featuring such long-time collaborators as his wife, actress Giulietta Masina, and composer Nino Rota.
Federico Fellini's solo-directing debut seems like a pure excursion into the director's extravagant imagination, but its comedy, alternately ethereal and tumultous, is grounded in reality. A honeymooning clerk (Leopoldo Trieste) and his big-eyed bride (Brunella Bovo) make a package-tour pilgrimage to Rome to have an audience with the Pope. There are bureaucratic delays, and the couple become separated. The still-virginal husband falls in with prostitutes (including Giulietta Masina's Cabiria, later canonized in Fellini's most enduring masterpiece). The bride finds herself in the world of her favorite fantasy-figure, "the White Sheik"--the hero of the photographic comic books, or fumetti
, eagerly followed by the Italian populace. It was Michelangelo Antonioni who proposed the fumetti
as a ripe film subject, and the film's central episode--dominated by Alberto Sordi's preposterous fantasy-figure and the Mack Sennett-like production methods of the fumetti
company--is the first tour de force of Fellini's spectacular career. --Richard T. Jameson
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.