Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Bicycle Thief

There's always those films that are dubbed essentials. Many times it's very clear as to why.

Like Vittorio De Sica's The Bicycle Thief (or Bicycle Thieves as it's sometimes called). It's frequently hailed as one of many films of the Italian neo-realism era. But how many have seen it? Not as much as those who've heard of it.

The film focuses on Antonio Ricci, a struggling working father. Antonio is played by Lamberto Maggiorani, a non-professional. It was De Sica's idea to cast people of the Italian working class in the main roles rather than actors. (This wouldn't have worked had De Sica went with the studio's recommendation of Cary Grant.) Upon seeing the film, I realized De Sica made a very smart decision.

The reason? The use of non-professionals added more depth to the film's mood. No one could possibly believe someone like Grant would have difficulty finding a steady job, let alone have troubles at home and with money. Someone like Maggiorani gives the film a desired believability. It just wouldn't have worked with an established star like Grant.

Previous foreign films I watched usually left me amazed. In regards with The Bicycle Thief, it left me both amazed and devastated. When he seeks out sympathy and support, all Antonio gets is contempt. Also, the wrecked look Antonio possesses throughout the film, especially when he loses his bicycle (and most definitely the ending), can just crush you emotionally.

My Rating: *****


  1. I fall into the realm that's heard a lot about this film, but have yet to see it.

  2. I saw it a half a year go and really liked it- a little boring in some parts, but the ending was heartbreaking and very well executed! Nice review!

  3. Vittorio De Sica is one of the directors I Aleah recommend to people new to foreign film. They're all brilliant, especially his late 40s and early 50s stuff (see also UMBERTO D)


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