Vittorio De Sica

"In association with Cesare Zavattini, he played a major role in the development of neorealism 1944-52, creating the often imitated Bicycle Thieves and a vast tableau of life in Sciuscià, Umberto D, Miracle in Milan, and, later, in Il Tetto." - Georges Sadoul (Dictionary of Film Makers, 1972)

Vittorio De Sica

Director / Actor / Screenwriter / Producer
(1901-1974) Born July 7, Sora, Lazio, Italy
Top 250 Directors

Key Production Countries: Italy, France
Key Genres: Drama, Melodrama, War Drama, Family Drama, Romantic Drama, Comedy, Coming-of-Age, Urban Drama
Key Collaborators: Cesare Zavattini (Screenwriter), Alessandro Cicognini (Composer), Eraldo Da Roma (Editor), Adriana Novelli (Editor), Sophia Loren (Leading Actress), Carlo Ponti (Producer), Adolfo Franci (Screenwriter), Carlo Montuori (Cinematographer), Aldo Graziati (Cinematographer), Paolo Stoppa (Leading Character Actor), Marcello Mastroianni (Leading Character Actor), Gastone Medin (Production Designer)

"The films of Vittorio De Sica are among the most enduring of the Italian post-war period. His career suggests an openness to form and a versatility uncommon among Italian directors… During his lifetime, De Sica acted in over one hundred films in Italy and abroad, using this means to finance his own directorial efforts… The influence of his tenure as actor cannot be overestimated in his directorial work, where the expressivity of the actor in carefully written roles was one of his foremost technical implements. In this vein De Sica has continually mentioned the influence on his work of Charlie Chaplin. The tensive continuity between tragic and comic, the deployment of a detailed yet poetic gestural language, and a humanist philosophy without recourse to the politically radical are all elements of De Sica’s work that are paralleled in the silent star’s films." - Joel Kanoff (International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, 2000)
"In retrospect, even De Sica's neo-realist work was marred by melodrama; the authenticity of location-shooting is undermined by schematic plots and excessive heart-on-the-sleeve sentimentality. The superbly naturalistic, non-professional performances in his best work, however, do convey an overwhelming emotional power." - Geoff Andrew (The Film Handbook, 1989)
"Although his detractors have argued that shallowness was never far away, it still seems unbelievable that the man who produced four consecutive masterpieces, which told us more about the plight and conditions of postwar Italians than any other films, could later have turned out such vapid and dispiriting stuff as Boccaccio 70, Marriage Italian Style, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow and Woman Times Seven." - David Quinlan (Quinlan's Film Directors, 1999)
"Like many would-be documentarists, De Sica is actually uneasy about feeling. When it arises, he shuts it off brusquely, as if he mistrusted an over-sentimental reaction from his innate coldness. I do not mean that he was callous, but that his films skirt round feelings and prefer not to investigate character... He stands now as a minor director. But the films from 1943-1952, and The Gold of Naples, are still worth seeing." - David Thomson (The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, 2002)
"The neorealist films of Vittorio De Sica changed the face of Italian cinema, and the director claimed that, "my films are a word in favour of the poor and unhappy and against the indifference of society towards suffering." - Ronald Bergan (Film - Eyewitness Companions, 2006)
"A former romantic actor turned director (although he still acted on occasion to fund his other ventures), De Sica was the most Italian of creatures, a man who saw nothing strange in spanning three or even four different genres throughout his career, varying from the avant-garde to the blatantly commercial." - Mario Reading (The Movie Companion, 2006)
"The great humanist of Italian neo-realism, De Sica directed with an emphasis on truth, simple humanity, the goodness of man, comedy and faith." - William R. Meyer (The Film Buff's Catalog, 1978)
"I've lost all my money on these films. They are not commercial. But I'm glad to lose it this way. To have for a souvenir of my life pictures like Umberto D. and The Bicycle Thief." - Vittorio De Sica
TSPDT Guide
Highly Recommended
The Children Are Watching Us (1944), Bicycle Thieves (1948) , Umberto D. (1952)
Recommended
Shoeshine (1946)
Worth a Look
Miracle in Milan (1951) , The Gold of Naples (1954), The Roof (1956), Two Women (1960), The Condemned of Altona (1962), Il Boom (1963), Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (1963), The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (1971)
Not Recommended
Indiscretion of an American Wife (1953)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
1,000 Greatest Films
Vittorio De Sica / Favourite Films
L'Atalante (1934) Jean Vigo, Battleship Potemkin (1925) Sergei Eisenstein, Carnival in Flanders (1935) Jacques Feyder, La Chienne (1931) Jean Renoir, Hallelujah! (1929) King Vidor, Kameradschaft (1931) G.W. Pabst, The Kid (1921) Charles Chaplin, Man of Aran (1934) Robert Flaherty, Le Million (1931) René Clair, Storm Over Asia (1928) Vsevolod Pudovkin.
Source: Cinematheque Belgique (1952)
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    The Children Are Watching Us
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