Villa Borghese is Grand Hotel with trees and shrubbery. Set in the famed Roman city park of Villa Borghese, the film offers pithy character vignettes of the various people from various walks of life who stroll through the park in the course of a day. The all-star cast includes Vittorio De Sica as an aging playboy, Eduardo de Fillipo as a father arranging a wealthy marriage for his crippled daughter, Michele Presle and Gerard Philipe as a pair of illicit lovers, and Anna Maria Ferrero as a good-hearted prostitute. Six top Italian writers collaborated on the screenplay of this entertaining mosaic. TV prints of Villa Borghese retain the photographic slickness of the original, though the dubbing is rather crude.—allrovi.com
Few European film-makers combined artistic ambitions with a genuine populist spirit in the manner of Vittorio De Sica. In his prolific career, the actor-director made many films on social subjects which nonetheless engaged a mass audience. A Neapolitan by birth, De Sica came from humble roots, working as a theatre actor in the early 1920s. His stage success led De Sica to films where he proved to be a popular actor, mounting more than thirty film credits before his directorial debut with Rosa Scarlatte (which he co-directed with Giuseppe Amato). Even after his success as a director, De Sica was a much sought after performer; appearing in such classics as Max Ophüls’ Madame de… and Roberto Rossellini’s Il Generale della Rovere.
De Sica’s fourth outing as a director was his first collaboration with screenwriter and film theorist Cesare Zavattini. The Children Are Watching Us anticipated neorealism in its detached focus on a young boy’s growing isolation from his mother. De Sica… read more