Sophia Loren 4-Film Collection

Carosello Napoletano (1954)          Attila (1954)

Madame Sans-Gêne (1962)              I, Girasoli (1970)... aka Sunflower (USA)






Carosello napoletano (1954) - There is no doubt that Ettore Giannini, who wrote and directed this import, is in love with Naples and is wearing his heart where it can easily be seen in pleasing shades of Technicolor. His Neapolitan saga, roughly covering three centuries up to the present, is bridged by the intermittent appearances of a homeless, impecunious but happy hurdy-gurdy man's family. This is only a diversion, for it is obvious that Signor Giannini planned—very successfully—to crowd the film with as many tunes, ballets and dances as was possible. There are, to summarize, five ballet numbers executed by the Marquis de Cuevas company, the African Ballet of Keita Fodeba and the Rome Opera Theatre. And, as noted in the credits, the voices of such famed talents as Beniamino Gigli make the "singers" on screen sound impressive in such standards as "Santa Lucia," "Funiculi, Funicula" and "O Sole Mio."

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

Attila (1954) - Italian director Pietro Francisci directed this 1954 drama about the fifth-century invasion of Rome by Attila the Hun. Anthony Quinn stars as the legendary barbaric King of the Huns who wreaked havoc upon Rome, threatening to topple the entire empire. Sophia Loren costars as Honoria, the beautiful young woman whose help is enlisted by Pope Leo I and may be the only person who can end Attila's rampage. Also starring Henri Vidal and Irene Papas, Attila, il flagello di Dio was released in the United States as Attila.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE.


Madame Sans-Gêne (1962) - Madame Sans-Gêne is a 1962 Spanish-Italian-French film co-production distributed by Embassy Pictures. It was directed by Christian-Jaque and adapted from the 1893 play by Victorien Sardou and Émile Moreau. The film stars Sophia Loren and a cast of French and Italian players, including Robert Hossein, Julien Berthaeu, Renaud Mary, Léa Gray, Gianrico Tedeschi and Marina Berti. Madame Sans-Gêne has a legendary history in France. It is based on the life of Catherine Hubscher, born in Goldbach-Altenbach (Haut-Rhin) in 1753. She started off as a laundress who used to wash and iron Napoleon's clothes when he was a common corporal. She married François Joseph Lefebvre, an Army sergeant who became Marshal of France and was later elevated by Napoleon I to the rank of Duke of Dantzig. She was known by the nickname of Madame Sans-Gêne, (literally Mrs No Embarrassment) because of her behaviour, free speech and lack of proper manners at court.

Excerpt from Wikipedia located HERE


I Girasoli (1970)... aka Sunflower (USA) - Excruciating tosh in which Loren plays a bereft Italian spouse wandering over what feels like the whole of Russia looking for hubby Mastroianni, who never returned after serving on the Russian front in World War II. Much picturesque scenery and soul-searching later, she finds him with a Russian wife, a child, and amnesia. Off she slogs back to Italy to forget, marry, have a child. At which point guess who turns up, having remembered? It's much worse than it sounds.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE


Theatrical Releases: Various from 1954 - 1970

  DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Lionsgate (3-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution Lionsgate - Region 1 - NTSC
Time: over 6+ hrs. total on 3 discs
Audio Italian/French (original)
Subtitles English (CC), Spanish, None

Release Information:
Studio: Lionsgate

Aspect Ratio:
All Original Aspect Ratios - 1.33,  1.85, 2.35 

Edition Details:

• Featurette - 'Sophia Loren: La Diva Popolana' (18:36)

DVD Release Date: June 10th, 2008

Custom case (see image above)
20 each X 4 = 80



The three discs are divided as follows:

Disc 1 (DVD9 - Dual-layered/single-sided):
Carosello Napoletano (1954)

Disc 2 (DVD9 - Dual-layered/single-sided):
- Attila (1954)

- Madame Sans-Gêne (1962)

Disc 3 (DVD9 - Dual-layered/single-sided):
I, Girasoli (1970) and an 18 minute featurette

The 4 main features of this boxset are housed in a custom case (see above image) with a unique thick plastic slipcase (as the simultaneously released Catherine Deneuve Collection - reviewed HERE) and none of the films are sold separately by Lions Gate at this time.  All four features are coded for region 1 in the NTSC standard and all features are anamorphic (where widescreen) in their original aspect ratios, progressively transferred. Lions Gate have some sort of agreement with Studio Canal in place and, both logos are on each disc.

Each have original Italian (and French in Madame Sans-Gêne) audio and options for English (CC) or Spanish subtitles in an white font with black border (see samples below). There is one extra on the 3rd disc that I will discuss below.  

Image: Visually none of these four films stack up to Lions Gate's recent output of DVD collections (Deneuve, Godard, Angelique etc.). In fact it would probably rank as the worst looking transfers from them in a while. There is fine dirt as well as speckles and damage marks - visible cue-blip markers (see below) and none of the four display sharpness at a respectable level. Colors appear slightly dimmed and unremarkable. There is noise present but that wouldn't be my biggest complaint. Now, these are not totally atrocious - just not up the standard we have come to expect from recent years of Lions Gate's foreign film offerings. I imagine the original elements are not in pristine condition as none of these older films are nearing 'masterpiece' territory, so I don't expect restoration to be forthcoming. It may be as good as they can look for now... but why these specific films were chosen doesn't really seem to relate very well - unless they just happened to be available.   

Audio - All original (monaural or 2.0 channel). Subtitles seem well translated although the font used is somewhat overly thick (samples below).

There is one extra featurette - 'Sophia Loren: La Diva Popolana' which runs close to twenty minutes and has input from a few who give first hand knowledge of the lady and her career. It's worth a spin for sure.   

Overall impression: No, I wasn't as keen on this set as I was hoping. The films are no-where-near showcasing Loren talents and the image is sub-standard.

As far as the individual films go - Carosello Napoletano hardly has the young Miss Loren in at all - certainly not enough of her to marquee in a boxset collection of four of her films. It was, kind of, an amusing movie but I think being able to appreciate the extensive musical numbers would be of benefit to most viewers. Attila also kept my interest but the transfer may be the worst of this bunch and the image can be very dark at times. I like Anthony Quinn but he was just okay in this. This is a film either you buy into or it can be just plain old silly with funky costumes. I probably enjoyed Madame Sans-Gêne the most of the four with a historical element that I was previously unaware. I, Girasoli aka Sunflower was a big disappointment - my expectations were probably too high with the combination of Di Sica, Loren and Mastroianni, but the film is very weak overall. I usually enjoy melodrama but this was a bit heavy-handed and irrational. So the films are not up to snuff (and there are only four as opposed to five as in many other recent Lions Gate collections).  

The value (price for what you get) can be quite enticing but there are other compilations I'd recommend far above this one. No insult to the enchanting Sophia Loren and her immense body of work (over 90 movies and still working!) but I am blasé on both the films of this set and digital quality of the DVDs. Loren fans may enjoy for the reasonable price but I can't give it our full endorsement.             

Gary W. Tooze

DVD Menus




Carosello Napoletano (1954)

Screen Captures



Attila (1954)



Screen Captures



Visible cue-blip...


Madame Sans-Gêne (1962)


Screen Captures



I Girasoli (1970)... aka Sunflower (USA)

Screen Captures




DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Lionsgate - Region 1 - NTSC


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