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Directed by Luchino Visconti
USA 19
53

 

Perhaps the most unjustly neglected of Luchino Visconti's early films is this hilarious 1951 comedy, tailored to the talents of Anna Magnani, about a working-class woman who is determined to get her plain seven-year-old daughter into movies. A wonderful send-up of the Italian film industry and the illusions that it fosters, delineated in near-epic proportions with style and brio.

 Excerpt of Jonathan Rosenbaum's review at The Chicago Reader located HERE

***

When casting children's roles, director Luchino Visconti (The Leopard; Death in Venice) is said to have been besieged by clamouring mothers, each trying to attract his attention to their child with cries of "Bellissima!". In his film of the same name, Visconti turned his experiences into art, in the form of a satire on the motivations and machinations at work in the film industry, with the famous Cinecittą studios as a backdrop.

Maddalena (Anna Magnani) is a screenstruck mother convinced of her daughter Maria's (Tina Apicella) star potential. Dreaming of a better life for her family - as a means of escape from the struggles of everyday existence in working-class Rome - she invests everything, including her last penny, into the dream that her daughter will be discovered at an open casting. However, on overhearing the film crew's candid assessment of her daughter's audition (in what Variety described in 1952 as "one of the cruelest scenes ever filmed") Maddalena is forced to reconsider her views on the film industry and its world of illusions.

Posters

Theatrical Release: May 15th, 1953

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DVD Comparison:

Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - PAL vs. E1 Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC

Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - PAL LEFT vs. E1 Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC RIGHT

 

DVD Box Cover

Distribution Eureka - Masters of Cinema (Spine #47) - Region 0 - PAL E1 Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC
Runtime 1:50:00 (4% PAL Speedup) 1:53:56 
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.0 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s
1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.55 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:  Eureka

Bitrate: E1

Audio Italian (Dolby Digital 1.0)  Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Eureka - Masters of Cinema

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• A Proposito Di Bellissima (31:41)
• Video Interview with Francesco Rosi (10:31)
• Original trailer
(3:50)
• 32-page liner notes booklet including writing by Geoffrey Nowell-Smith and interviews with Luchino Visconti

DVD Release Date: September 24th, 2007

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 21

Release Information:
Studio: Entertainment One

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Original trailer (3:59)

DVD Release Date:
March 13th, 2012
Keep Case
Chapters: 12
 

 

Comments:

ADDITION: Entertainment One - Region 0 - NTSC - The dual-layered E1 transfer is interlaced but beyond that looks good and is in the correct standard. It may be slightly vertically stretched beside the MoC. The audio is clean and there are optional, yellow, subtitles. No extras beyond a trailer. The Masters of Cinema has the best value but the price at present is exorbitant. Those sensitive to PAL speedup will have the option now.

***

ON THE MoC: Fabulous transfer from MoC on this hidden gem of Visconti. Possible minor black level boosting that bring out detail to produce very strong detail. Contrast and greytone are excellent.  Progressive and dual-layered. These guys are the Criterion of Region 2 - they are doing everything with class and efficiency. Optional English subtitles support the original mono audio which is fairly clear and clean.

Supplements include a half hour featurette, A Proposito Di Bellissima, in Italian (subbed in English) and a video interview with Bellissima co-screenwriter and assistant director Francesco Rosi. Both instill greater appreciation of the film and keep us wanting more. Perfect additions. Also the theatrical trailer is included as well as an extensive 32-page liner notes booklet including writing by Geoffrey Nowell-Smith and interviews with Luchino Visconti.

The film purports some decent satire and actually ironic entertainment value - a must-see for film fans. A real pleasure to watch. Strongly recommended!    

Gary W. Tooze

 


DVD Menus

 

Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - PAL LEFT vs. E1 Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC RIGHT


 
 

 


Subtitle Sample

 

Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - PAL TOP vs. E1 Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC BOTTOM

 


 

Screen Captures

 

Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - PAL TOP vs. E1 Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC BOTTOM

 


Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - PAL TOP vs. E1 Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC BOTTOM

 


Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - PAL TOP vs. E1 Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC BOTTOM

 


Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - PAL TOP vs. E1 Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC BOTTOM

 


Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - PAL TOP vs. E1 Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC BOTTOM
 

 


Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - PAL TOP vs. E1 Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC BOTTOM
 


DVD Box Cover

Distribution Eureka - Masters of Cinema (Spine #47) - Region 0 - PAL E1 Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC




 

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