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Italy 1952

"Shot on location with a cast of nonprofessional actors, Vittorio De Sica’s neorealist masterpiece follows Umberto D., an elderly pensioner, as he struggles to make ends meet during Italy’s postwar economic boom. Alone except for his dog, Flike, Umberto strives to maintain his dignity while trying to survive in a city where traditional human kindness seems to have lost out to the forces of modernization. Umberto’s simple quest to fulfill the most fundamental human needs — food, shelter, companionship — is one of the most heartbreaking stories ever filmed and an essential classic of world cinema."

This neorealist masterpiece by Vittorio De Sica follows an elderly pensioner as he strives to make ends meet during Italy’s postwar economic recovery. Alone except for his dog, Flike, Umberto struggles to maintain his dignity in a city where human kindness seems to have been swallowed up by the forces of modernization. His simple quest to satisfy his basic needs—food, shelter, companionship—makes for one of the most heartbreaking stories ever filmed, and an essential classic of world cinema.

Poster

Theatrical Release: January 20th, 1952 - Italy

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Recommended Books on Italian Cinema (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

Comparison:

Criterion Collection - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray vs. Cult Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

1) Criterion  - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Cult Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Cover

Distribution Criterion Collection  Spine # 201
Region 1 - NTSC
Criterion Collection - Spine #201 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray Cult Films 'B' - Blu-ray

(click titles for DVDBeaver reviews)

This edition (without any extras) is also available in The Essential Art House - 50 Years of Janus Films - a 50-disc celebration of international films collected under the auspices of the groundbreaking theatrical distributor. It contains Alexander Nevsky (1938), Ashes And Diamonds (1958), L'avventura (1960), Ballad Of A Soldier (1959), Beauty And The Beast (1946), Black Orpheus (1959), Brief Encounter (1945), The Fallen Idol (1948), Fires On The Plain (1959), Fists In The Pocket (1965), Floating Weeds (1959), Forbidden Games (1952), The 400 Blows (1959), Grand Illusion (1937), Häxan (1922), Ikiru (1952), The Importance Of Being Earnest (1952), Ivan The Terrible, Part II (1958), Le Jour Se Lève (1939), Jules And Jim (1962), Kind Hearts And Coronets (1949), Knife In The Water (1962), The Lady Vanishes (1938), The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp (1943), Loves Of A Blonde (1965), M (1931), M. Hulot's Holiday (1953), Miss Julie (1951), Pandora's Box (1929), Pépé Le Moko (1937), Il Posto (1961), Pygmalion (1938), Rashomon (1950), Richard III (1955), The Rules Of The Game (1939), Seven Samurai (1954), The Seventh Seal (1957), The Spirit Of The Beehive (1973), La Strada (1954), Summertime (1955), The Third Man (1949), The 39 Steps (1935), Ugetsu (1953), Umberto D. (1952), The Virgin Spring (1960), Viridiana (1961), The Wages Of Fear (1953), The White Sheik (1952), Wild Strawberries (1957), Three Documentaries By Saul J. Turell plus the hardcover, full color 240-page book.

Runtime 1:29:00   1:28:45.945  1:28:37.145  
Video 1.37:1.00 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.52 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 46,254,672,080 bytes

Feature: 26,012,731,392 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 39,624,044,027 bytes

Feature: 21,883,054,080 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.68 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Criterion Blu-ray

Bitrate: Cult Films Blu-ray

Audio Italian (Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono) LPCM Audio Italian 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
Subtitles English, none English, none English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen (Standard) - 1.37:1

Edition Details:
• New high-definition transfer from restored elements with new and improved subtitle translation
• "This is Life: Vittorio De Sica," a 54:15 Italian television documentary
• Interview with actress Maria Pia Casilio (12:03)
• New essay by critic Stuart Klawans and reprinted recollections on the film by De Sica (4 pages)
• Writings of Umberto D. by Umberto Eco, Luisa Alessandri, and Carlo Battisti


DVD Release Date: July 22, 2003
Keep Case
Chapters: 16

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 46,254,672,080 bytes

Feature: 26,012,731,392 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• New high-definition transfer from restored elements with new and improved subtitle translation
• "This is Life: Vittorio De Sica," a 54:
35 Italian television documentary
• Interview with actress Maria Pia Casilio (12:0
7)
• Trailer (3:45)

• New essay by critic Stuart Klawans and reprinted recollections on the film by De Sica (4 pages)
• Writings of Umberto D. by Umberto Eco, Luisa Alessandri, and Carlo Battisti


Blu-ray Release Date: September 4th, 2012
Standard
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 15

Release Information:
Studio: Cult Films

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 39,624,044,027 bytes

Feature: 21,883,054,080 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.68 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• Vittorio D: A tribute to multi-awarded maestro filmmaker De Sica, a milestone of Cinema history. With participations from the likes of Clint Eastwood, Ken Loach, Mike Leigh, etc… (1:35:25)

Reversible sleeve
 

Blu-ray Release Date: April 24th, 2017

Transparent Blu-ray case

Chapters: 15

 

 

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Cult Films - Region 'B'- Blu-ray - April 17': The Cult Films presentation starts with this screen:

It does look different than the Criterion showing more information in the frame - mostly on the side edges. It is also a shade darker but looking at the bitrate graphs - there are more similarities than differences. I do like the Cult Films 1080P appearance even being slightly less technically robust. In the latter part of the film it shows a vertical scratch down the right edge - perhaps this is why Criterion cropped that portion away - although it is visible in some Criterion transfer scenes as well. I'm pleased with the Cult Films image. It looks super in-motion.

Just like the Criterion the audio can sound imperfect being a bit brittle with post-DUB'ing occasionally apparent. The Cult Films is also linear PCM - but only 16-bit. I doubt many could differentiate but the Criterion is, technically, stronger. The Cult Films also has optional English subtitles and their Blu-ray disc is Region 'B'-locked.

The only extras is a doozy; the complete 2009 documentary Vittorio D directed by Mario Canale and Annarosa Morri. It is a tribute to multi-awarded maestro filmmaker De Sica, a milestone of Cinema history. With participations from the likes of Clint Eastwood, Ken Loach, Mike Leigh, etc… excellent viewing.

Well, the Cult Films has true value - solid a/v transfer and a wonderful supplement. Great Blu-ray package - Region 'B' fans should be very pleased to have this 'must-own' film in their library. Strongly recommended!

***

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray (August 2012): The improved resolution shows a hint of edge-enhancement. The new transfer, from the same source, doesn't show the rounded-corners. I assume most projectionists wouldn't either but it does crop the image negligibly. I think, overall, it looks great - everything ratchets-up a notch - detail, more layered contrast and there is now some impressive depth.

The linear PCM mono audio has tendencies to sounding tinny and hollow - but I'll assume this is accurate? There are optional English subtitles on the region 'A'-locked disc.

Duplicated extras from the 2003 SD DVD with the almost hour-long This is Life: Vittorio De Sica Italian television documentary, the 12-minute interview with actress Maria Pia Casilio, a trailer (do we gain this?) and the excellent liner notes.

For me, this is almost as powerful as De Sica's The Bicycle Thief and on Blu-ray this film really knocks me on my ass. Draining and essential in my eyes Strongly recommended!  

***

ON THE DVD: Well, I seem to be overwhelmed each time I review a Criterion DVD... and this will be no exception. Lets start with the bad: some slight damage is visible. Now, the good: everything else about this DVD. You can see from the scans below the sharpness, detail and wonderful contrast. The sound is also exceptional from what I have heard so far. Great Extras on director De Sica. This is a definite candidate for our 'Essentials DVD' listing. I can hardly believe the sharpness of this DVD considering the film is over 50 years old. Magnificent. As good a DVD as I have seen all year.  out of

Gary W. Tooze


Menus

1) Criterion  - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

 
 

 

Cult Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920 X 1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Cult Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Criterion  - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Cult Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion  - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Cult Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion  - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Cult Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion  - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Cult Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion  - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Cult Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


More Blu-ray Captures

 

1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Cult Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Cult Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Cult Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Cult Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Cult Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Cult Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Cult Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Box Cover

Distribution Criterion Collection  Spine # 201
Region 1 - NTSC
Criterion Collection - Spine #201 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray Cult Films 'B' - Blu-ray

(click titles for DVDBeaver reviews)

This edition (without any extras) is also available in The Essential Art House - 50 Years of Janus Films - a 50-disc celebration of international films collected under the auspices of the groundbreaking theatrical distributor. It contains Alexander Nevsky (1938), Ashes And Diamonds (1958), L'avventura (1960), Ballad Of A Soldier (1959), Beauty And The Beast (1946), Black Orpheus (1959), Brief Encounter (1945), The Fallen Idol (1948), Fires On The Plain (1959), Fists In The Pocket (1965), Floating Weeds (1959), Forbidden Games (1952), The 400 Blows (1959), Grand Illusion (1937), Häxan (1922), Ikiru (1952), The Importance Of Being Earnest (1952), Ivan The Terrible, Part II (1958), Le Jour Se Lève (1939), Jules And Jim (1962), Kind Hearts And Coronets (1949), Knife In The Water (1962), The Lady Vanishes (1938), The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp (1943), Loves Of A Blonde (1965), M (1931), M. Hulot's Holiday (1953), Miss Julie (1951), Pandora's Box (1929), Pépé Le Moko (1937), Il Posto (1961), Pygmalion (1938), Rashomon (1950), Richard III (1955), The Rules Of The Game (1939), Seven Samurai (1954), The Seventh Seal (1957), The Spirit Of The Beehive (1973), La Strada (1954), Summertime (1955), The Third Man (1949), The 39 Steps (1935), Ugetsu (1953), Umberto D. (1952), The Virgin Spring (1960), Viridiana (1961), The Wages Of Fear (1953), The White Sheik (1952), Wild Strawberries (1957), Three Documentaries By Saul J. Turell plus the hardcover, full color 240-page book.





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Gary Tooze