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Product Details

  • Actors: Vittorio De Sica
  • Format: Black & White, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Koch
  • Release Date: May 17 2011
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #37,769 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Product Description

In post WWII Italy, Giuseppe and Pasquale work on the street shining the shoes of American troops. But when the boys are falsely accused of a crime, they are sent to a brutal state juvenile detention center. Directed by Academy Award winner Vittorio De Sica.


Legendary critic Pauline Kael was notoriously hard to please, so it's worth noting that Shoeshine was one of her all-time favorite films. It remains an undisputed masterpiece of Italian neorealism from the genre's foremost practitioner, and although director Vittorio De Sica's stature has diminished over the years, Shoeshine is undeniably the artistic equal of De Sica's subsequent classics The Bicycle Thief and Umberto D. Shot on location using amateur actors, this wrenching 1946 drama captures an unblinking portrait of desperate survival in post-war Rome, where two young shoeshine boys are imprisoned for selling stolen goods. Their innocence is gradually corrupted by mistrust, greed, and self-preservation, and their dreams destroyed by the indifference of Italy's traumatized society, making Shoeshine a harsh and yet lyrically truthful experience. In praising this simple, unforgettable film, Kael deserves the last word: "If Mozart had written an opera set in poverty, it might have had this kind of painful beauty." --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa4c5fccc) out of 5 stars 23 reviews
39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
By STEVE - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This film is so groundbreaking, it is difficult to find a place to begin. Shoeshine is a simple film that involves two boys, Giuseppe and Pasquale in 1945 Italy, who manage to get locked up for committing a petty crime. After being imprisoned in a youth detention center, both boys become very disillusioned and bitter over their fate.

Shoeshine has the distinction of being the very first film to win an Academy Award for best foreign film in 1946, when no Academy Awards for foreign films existed! There was not an Academy Awards classification for foreign films until 1956 !! Shoeshine was also well received at the Cannes film festival. The cinematographer, Gianpiero Brunetta remarked that this was quite a statement, since the French still harbored a lot of hostility towards the Italians after the war. Regardless of this animosity, many French film makers embraced the concept of neorealism immediately.

What is a neorealist film? As an amateur, I will do my best to describe what it is, using Shoeshine as an example. A neorealist film uses a natural background as opposed to a studio one. Amateur actors are used and the topic usually involves simple stories in a simple, somewhat impoverished setting. To enhance the simple stories, the use of camera positions and the subject's relationship to the camera are also important factors. For example, Nannarella, a frail little girlfriend of Giuseppe, is filmed walking away from the camera to the other side of the street. In a way, she could represent the rebirth of Italy after having just freed herself from fascism. In another scene, this same girl is seen looking forlorned as her two friends, Giuseppe and Pasquale are being driven away to the youth detention center. Her eyes are fixed on the lens as she is filmed walking towards the camera as the camera moves away from her. It is almost as though the camera lens has become the boys' eyes. There are many other examples of the neorealist style on this film, so I will allow you to discover where they are on your own.

Enjoy this masterpiece!
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xb3d8ca38) out of 5 stars Here's an Unexpected Unanimity! Nov. 3 2011
By Gio - Published on Amazon.com
Everybody loves this film! Seven reviews and all five stars! My crash course in the Italian Neorealismo, which has me watching a classic from the 1940s or '50s every evening, has revealed plenty of disagreement among reviewers about the merits of the tougher films, those that expose the harshness and degradation of lower class life. I guess it should be no surprise that the radical Pier Paolo Pasolini would draw fire; after all, he was murdered by rightwing extremists. But Vittorio de Sica was no radical, and this film is politically innocuous. It's the story of two boys who are earning money shining shoes in American-occupied Italy near the end of World War 2. One boy, the older, is an orphan. The younger boy, his friend, has an intact family with a grown-up brother. That big brother involves the two unsuspecting boys in a robbery; the boys are no angels, of course, and they 'think' they are merely delivering stolen American army blankets to a fence. The resourceful boys have been hoarding their money to buy a horse, and the earnings of their delivery complete the selling price. But joy is brief; the boys are nabbed, questioned, and jailed. Neither of them will 'squeal' on the big brother and his associates. Most of the film is set in a boys' penitentiary that looks like half abandoned church and half Alcatraz. The scenes in the pen are pure Charles Dickens, funny, pitiful, melodramatic in turn. "Prison makes good boys bad and bad boys worse." That's hardly a radical revelation.... and then the ending is an effective tear-jerker, which I won't disclose.

In other words, this is "neorealism" with a fairly conventional face. A sentimental film about boys in a destructive environment. The police, teh wardens, the judges, and the lawyers are all despicable, sadistic martinets. Who could call that either "new" or radical? But it's a good piece of film-making despite its thin content. The boys, not professional actors, are amazingly convincing, both in speech and in movement, which one has to credit to the directorial craft of Vittorio de Sica. The script is tight; in fact, it was nominated for a separate Oscar for screen-writing. The black-and-white photography is crisp and elegant, and this restoration from 2001 has captured its visual beauties. So it seems that "neorealismo" wasn't incompatible with fairly straightforward entertainment.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa43276c0) out of 5 stars Shoeshine Nov. 12 2012
By Nic - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The film is dated but only when it comes to the production values. The rest of the piece is just as timely today as it was when Vittorio de Sica made this film. This probably one of the best examples of neo realism in Italian Cinema. The bond between the two boys is exceptional and then tested beyond what either of them expects. What's interesting is that de Sica never plays with this he peels the layers back and lets them resonate through the film. This is probably the best definition of "for every action there is a reaction". The performances from non professionals are short of amazing. Sometimes they seem a little over the top but in actuality when one is considering the situation they aren't over the top at all. This is de Sica at his best. Brilliant piece of work and with companion pieces such as Umberto D and The Bicycle Thief one understands what it was de Sica wanted to say.

The product was as offered. No flaws. Packaging perfect. Delivery right on time. Excellent handling by Amazon.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa41389e4) out of 5 stars Extraordinary Oct. 19 2011
By the film professor - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a review of the Entertainment One edition of Shoeshine released in May, 2011; this film is tremendous, an outstanding example of neorealism; the restored and remastered edition is superb;
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4327df8) out of 5 stars Shoeshine Aug. 30 2011
By ronald - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The quality of this DVD was excellent. I was pleased to finally be able to obtain a copy of this excellent Italian Academy Award winning film