Tafero's DVD Reviews of the Day (0757) - La Strada - Italy - 1956
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Tafero's DVD Reviews of the Day (0757) - La Strada - Italy - 1956

This is a dvd movie review of La Strada - Italy - 1956. This is one of the best films ever made by Federico Fellini and it won the academy award for Best Foreign Film for that year.

0757 – La Strada – Italy – 1956 – Directed by Federico Fellini and starring Anthony Quinn as Zampano, a brutish strongman who treats women as if they are merely props for his show, Giulietta Masina as Gelsomina, a simple farming peasant who replaces her sister as a prop for the unfeeling Zampano and his show, and a very unlikely Richard Basehart, a thoroughly American actor playing an Italian clown (and quite well, for that matter) known as the fool, who falls for Gelsomina but comes to a tragic end. There is also a highly capable supporting cast that augments the fine performances of the lead actors. Fellini, who usually excels in surrealistic endeavors, is working with neorealism here and succeeds just as well. This film shows the extraordinary talent and range of the master director.

The story begins with the death of Gelsomina’s sister who has died as the female assistant of Zampano, a brute of a man who puts on a travelling strongman show. Now Zampano has to replace her and he goes to the home of the deceased woman and bargains with her mother who sells Gelsomina to him as well for 10,000 lira or about a hundred dollars in US. Life was cheap in postwar Italy. Gelsomina tries to be a good clown, but everything she does seems to infuriate the big galoot. Eventually, she meets another man, who is also a clown, played very well by Richard Basehart, who convinces her that she does not have to be a slave to such a man. The fool (Basehart) and the strongman have a fight and both go to prison. When they come out of prison, Zampano meets the male clown on a lonely road and kills him with a few blows to the head. When Gelsomina finds out what Zampano did, she wanders away from him, but ends her life shortly thereafter. We find Zampano finally breaking down and showing his human side at the loss of Gelsomina, but it is too late for him to show his real emotions and the film ends on a dour note. Despite the dreary ending, the film is considered a masterpiece of acting in Italian cinema and it won the very first academy award for Best Foreign Film that was presented that year. This was my mother’s favorite film of all time and I remember seeing, but not understanding it as a child. It is recommended for these fine performances and because my mother would beat me if I didn’t recommend it.

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