(aka 'Era Notte a Roma' or 'Blackout in Rome' or 'Escape by Night' or 'Wait for the Dawn')
Italy / Germany / Russia 1960
Stylistically an intriguing (and not wholly successful) mixture of Rossellini's early 'realism', Bergman-period melodrama, and the contemplative didacticism of his later films, this return to the milieu of Nazi-occupied Rome may not have the raw power of Rome, Open City, but is immensely affecting all the same. Three escaped Allied PoWs - a Brit, an American and a Russian - take refuge in the home of Roman black marketeer Ralli, whose Communist lover (Salvatori) is executed when they are betrayed by a corrupt, Nazi-collaborator priest. On one level, it's a fairly straightforward suspense movie, detailing the countless threats to the safety of the fugitives and the woman who provides sanctuary; on another, it's an unsentimental, Paisŕ-like celebration of the shared humanity that allows the various characters to communicate with one another despite linguistic differences and the wariness born of perilous circumstance. An uneven, flawed, but very intelligent work of enormous humanity.
Theatrical Release: July 31st, 1960
DVD Review: Optimum Home Entertainment - Region 2 - PAL
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|Distribution||Optimum Home Entertainment - Region 2 - PAL|
Aspect Ratio (letterboxed widescreen)
Average Bitrate: 4.29 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||Italian + English (mono)|
|Subtitles||English (when Italian is spoke), None|
Another stingy transfer from Optimum. It is heavily pictureboxed and letterbox widescreen at around 1.55:1. Quite unfortunate that it is at least not 16X9 enhanced and surprisingly the disc is dual layered with no extras. The image quality is hazy, spots of boosted contrast and occasional scratches and vertical damage marks. There are optional English subtitles that only go into effect when Italian dialogue is spoken (there is some English in the film). The mono audio is as poor as the image. The disc is coded for region 2 in the PAL standard.
The are no extras and this film would benefit from the inclusion of something akin to a commentary or some featurettes on Rossellini. Despite the weak image and audio Rossellini's magnificence still shines through and I would dearly love to see this restored and given a royal DVD treatment. It begins with the Studio Canal logo (and the film starts with the French title - 'Les Évadés de la nuit' ) but I am unaware of another existing DVD edition. If there is one - can you let me know?