Vitelloni, I (1953)

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Released 15-Jun-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Trailer-La Terra Trema, Ossessione, Il Bidone, Cinema Paradiso
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1953
Running Time 102:22 (Case: 109)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (74:45) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Federico Fellini
Studio
Distributor
Peg Films
Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Franco Interlenghi
Alberto Sordi
Franco Fabrizi
Leopoldo Trieste
Riccardo Fellini
Leonora Ruffo
Jean Brochard
Claude Farell
Carlo Romano
Enrico Viarisio
Paola Borboni
Lída Baarová
Arlette Sauvage
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Nino Rota


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Italian Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    I Vitelloni was Federico Fellini's second film as solo director, and reteams him with Alberto Sordi, the star of his first film, Lo Sciecco Bianco. But Sordi forms part of an ensemble in this one, and his character is peripheral to the main part of the narrative. The story centres around a group of lazy youths, the spivs of the title, in a seaside Italian town. Fausto (Franco Fabrizi) is a handsome womaniser, but things go wrong when his recent conquest Sandra falls pregnant and he is forced to marry her. Sandra's brother Moraldo (Franco Interlenghi) worries about falling into the same listlessness as his friends, who obstinately refuse to take responsibility for their lives and drift along without any direction. Alberto (Sordi) is a hedonist who drinks too much and only comes to himself when his sister becomes involved with a married man. Leopoldo (Leopoldo Trieste) dreams of becoming a great playwright. Riccardo (Riccardo Fellini) has a good singing voice but no ambitions.

    The film is a series of anecdotes and events which probably have some basis in reality, as it all seems very believable. It is anchored by the central story of the relationship of Fausto and Sandra, and the trials and tribulations that Fausto causes by his womanising and his failure to assume responsibility for his wife and child. If there is a figure that Fellini associates himself with it is Moraldo, and the name recurs in his documentary A Director's Notebook, about a failed attempt to film a sequel called Moraldo in Citta (Moraldo in the City). Moraldo's solution to avoiding the traps into which his friends have fallen echo Fellini's personal journey from his provincial hometown of Rimini.

    Even though the characters behave badly or are made to look silly (especially Alberto and Leopoldo), they are treated with considerable warmth and consequently come across as real people. This elevates the film from just being a simple tale into something more meaningful. It is also interesting to see the germination of elements that would return in later Fellini films - the carnival, the grotesque faces, the magicians and street performers. It is a very assured film, Fellini proving himself early on to be a significant talent. Incidentally, Riccardo Fellini is recognisably the younger brother of the director.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, close to the original 1.37:1.

    This black and white transfer has an excellent level of detail and is very sharp and clear. Contrast is excellent, with solid blacks and a very good range of grey tones. This was the third time I have seen the film but I felt like I had not seen it properly before, as it now looks about as good as it must have looked on original release.

    Occasionally I noticed a mild shimmer of aliasing. A few of the outlines looked a little too sharp to be realistic, but though there were some haloes in some shots, this has happened without the use of edge enhancement.

    Film artefacts are limited to white specks and irregular faint scratches. There is a large splice mark at 60:51. Unfortunately the film is jumpy at times, especially in the first half. It becomes less noticeable towards the latter part of the movie.

    Subtitles are provided in a yellow font and include US spelling. They appear to be well-timed and all of the dialogue is subtitled.

    The disc is RSDL-formatted with the layer change poorly placed at 74:45, interrupting a scene that begins with loud music.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The sole audio track is Dolby Digital 1.0 in the original Italian.

    Dialogue sounds clear and the audio scrubs up very well in this restoration. There is little stridency, no audible hiss and no pops or crackles at all. The timbre of the voices is well caught and effects, such as the wind storm on the night the great actor comes to town, also sound convincing. The whole film is post-synched in the Italian manner, making audio sync approximate.

    An early collaboration between Fellini and Nino Rota here, with his most noticeable contribution during the opening credits. The rest of the time the music does not draw much attention to itself, though I detected pre-echoes of later scores in some of the melodies.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Main Menu Audio

    Some audio from the film can be heard with the main menu.

Trailer-La Terra Trema, Ossessione, Il Bidone, Cinema Paradiso (14:17)

    Trailers for other Madman releases, in varying states of decay.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    A Region 2 release in the UK is scheduled for later in 2005 from the BFI.

    The US Region 1 release comes from Criterion. By all accounts the transfer quality is much the same as the Region 4. However the Region 1 comes with a trailer, a large photo gallery and a recent 35-minute documentary with several of the surviving actors and crew. It sounds like the Region 1 is the winner here.

Summary

    A fine early Fellini.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    No relevant extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony TA-DA9000ES
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Tannoy Sensys DCC; Rear: Richter Harlequin; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175

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