An episodic, funny, though uneven spoof of human manners and foibles, this comedy by Vittorio de Sica begins in Naples when a disembodied voice announces to the city’s residents “The Last Judgment will begin at 6:00 p.m.” Naturally, not all are immediately willing to accept this statement — but not for long. As comic vignettes unfold, the good citizens soon become even better as they try to undo past and present sins, just in case. There is a long list of top actors that show up briefly in the story, everyone from Alberto Sordi to Jimmy Durante, Melina Mercouri, Anouk Aimée, Vittorio Gassmann, and many, many others. —Ovguide.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