The Roof (Il tetto) (1956)

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Interviews-Cast-Gabriella Pallotta
Introduction-Interview with Manual De Sica
Theatrical Trailer-The Roof (Tetto, Il)
Teaser Trailer-Umbrella Trailers
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1956
Running Time 94:36
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Vittorio De Sica

Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Gabriella Pallotta
Giorgio Listuzzi
Luisa Alessandri
Angelo Bigioni
Gastone Renzelli
Maria Di Fiori
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $39.95 Music Alessandro Cicognini

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    In an era of economic hardship, how does a newly married young couple gain independance and break the neccesity of living with relatives in an over-populated household? The answer to this question forms the central theme of Vittorio De Sica's rarely seen 1956 film, The Roof (Il Tetto).

    Winner of the OCIC Award at Cannes in 1956, The Roof never quite gained the high reputation of many other neorealist films of the period. It is never the less a memorable, heartwarming tale of love and community amid tough economic times.

    The Roof has recently undergone a wonderful restoration and we are now fortunate to finally have the film released to DVD.

    Immediately after their wedding, Natale (Giorgio Listuzzi) and Luisa (Gabriella Pallotta) move in to live with his family. The unbelievably cramped conditions in the house inhibits any amorous contact. With this fact and the continuous criticism leveled at Luisa, it isn't long before tempers boil over and the newly weds decide that they simply must leave.

    With very little money or possessions, the young couple struggle to find appropriate accommodation anywhere in the city. All around Rome, squatters are building meager shacks on unclaimed land. This illegal practice is heavy patrolled by officials and if discovered during construction, the authorities order the immediate demolition of the structure. Natale works as an apprentice bricklayer and is aware of the Italian law, which stipulates that once a roof is completed on a dwelling, the authorities cannot pull it down.

    After selecting a patch of land by the rail track and spending all they have on materials, all is ready for the big construction effort. Under the cover of darkness, the rallied gang of workers toil frantically to construct a tiny, but livable abode. At daybreak, and as the construction nears competition, the authorities arrive.

    At the time of writing this review, The Roof is only released as part of Umbrella Entertainment's De Sica Collection - Volume One and is not available for purchase separately.

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Transfer Quality


    The Roof is presented fullscreen in an aspect ratio of 1.31:1, which is not 16x9 enhanced. I could not confirm the correct ratio, but it is likely to be 1.37:1.

    This transfer is the best of the three films in Umbrella's De Sica Collection - Volume One. While sharpness levels did vary slightly throughout the film, they were generally excellent for a film of this vintage. Blacks were clean and shadows held tremendous detail.

    The Roof was filmed in black and white, so there were no issues with colour.

    There were no MPEG artefacts noticed in the transfer. Film-to-video artefacts were very well controlled. To be totally pedantic, a couple of very minor instances of alaising were noticed on window shutters. To be fair though, these were barely noticeable. This restoration has resulted in an incredibly clean print. As such, film artefacts were almost non-existent.

    The only subtitles available on the disc are English. They are easily legible in bold yellow, but they cannot be removed. At first glance it would seem the subtitles have been burned into the print, however the DVD player function allows for them to be disabled. The problem is, when this option is selected the titles still remain even though technically they have been turned off.

    This is a single sided, DVD 9 disc. The layer change was noticeable, but not overly disruptive at 73:00.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There is only one audio track available on the disc, Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (224Kb/s).

    Although my comprehension of the Italian language is very limited, the quality of the dialogue seemed to be very good.

    There were no apparent issues with audio sync.

    The original music score is credited to Alessandro Cicognini. The music is quite consistent with the period and blends with the film really well.

    Naturally, there was no surround or subwoofer activity.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use




    The main menu is static and features a sample of Alessandro Cicognini's score.


Interview with Gabriella Pallotta (11:44)

    An emotional Gabriella Pallotta talks about her memories of The Roof and of Vittorio De Sica. She discusses how she won the role of Luisa and how the film subsequently changed her life. Gabriella has great respect for De Sica. She is also very proud of her involvement in the film and the small part she has played in the history of Italian cinema.

Interview with Manual De Sica (6:21)

    Manual is the son of Vittorio De Sica. Although he was quite young at the time, he discusses his memories of The Roof's production. Manual provides some background information about the film and his father's dedication.

Theatrical Trailer  - The Roof (Il Tetto)  (3:43)

    The trailer has also been restored. It has the original Italian audio, with no English subtitles.

Umbrella Trailers

  • The Bicycle Thief (4:51)
  • I Vitelloni  (3:35)
  • Cinema Paradiso (1:28)
  • La Notte (3:02)

    R4 vs R1

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

        At the time of writing this review, there does not appear to be any other version of The Roof available on DVD anywhere in the world.


        The Roof is a beautiful film with all the spirit and emotion that embodies so many of Vittorio De Sica's films. This recently restored print also does the film great justice. In time The Roof may be released for seperate purchase, but currently it is only available as part of the De Sica Collection - Volume One.

        The video and audio transfers are excellent.

        The selection of extras are not lengthy, but are still worthy.


  • Ratings (out of 5)


    © Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
    Tuesday, August 05, 2008
    Review Equipment
    DVDJVC XV-N412, using Component output
    DisplayHitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
    Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
    AmplificationPanasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS
    SpeakersFronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17

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