Il Generale Della Rovere

( 4 )

Overview

With a deft guiding hand, director Roberto Rossellini brings out the depths in this study of a man's transformation during the German occupation of Milan. Based on a novel by Indro Montanelli, the story is true. Colonel Mueller Hannes Messemer and his cohorts have decided to plant a spy in the Milan prison. They choose a petty thief from the streets who earns his living plying the black-market trade and assign him to the task. He is thrown in jail under the false identity of General della Rovere Vittorio De Sica ...
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Overview

With a deft guiding hand, director Roberto Rossellini brings out the depths in this study of a man's transformation during the German occupation of Milan. Based on a novel by Indro Montanelli, the story is true. Colonel Mueller Hannes Messemer and his cohorts have decided to plant a spy in the Milan prison. They choose a petty thief from the streets who earns his living plying the black-market trade and assign him to the task. He is thrown in jail under the false identity of General della Rovere Vittorio De Sica in order to bring the Italian resistance fighters among the prisoners, out into the open. As the fake general slowly makes friends with these men, he becomes a leader of sorts, and this transformation gets him thinking in a different way about himself. This well-wrought drama was given the "Best Foreign Film" award in 1960 by the New York Film Critics, and it won the Golden Lion at the 1959 Venice Film Festival.
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Special Features

Adriano Apra interview: 39:58 Renzo Rosellini interview: 32:06 Aldo Strappini interview: 3:38 Video essay: Truth of fiction: 45:19 Original theatrical trailer: 2:10 Theatrical version
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Tom Wiener
The transformation of an ordinary man to something resembling a hero is the stuff of many war films, but they're usually about a soldier who finds the courage to throw himself into the thick of battle. Here, the transformation is wrought on a con man, played by Vittorio De Sica, who manages to look elegant even as he's playing a man of reduced means. Presenting himself as "Colonel Grimaldi", he preys upon the fears of those whose relatives have been incarcerated by the Germans in occupied Genoa, offering promises of access and a better deal in exchange for the money he needs to pay his gambling debts. The fact that Bardone (the character's real name) is taking advantage of his fellow Italians is a terrific setup for his own incarceration as General della Rovere. The Germans hope to use his charismatic presence in a jail packed with political prisoners to elicit information on which of them is the leader of the resistance, opening him up to intense torture for information on his organization's activities. Not surprisingly, Bardone undergoes a conversion once he's behind bars. Setting up this scenario takes a bit too much screen time, though it's a lot of fun to watch De Sica's routine. The payoff scenes -- his reading the last graffiti of condemned men written on a cell wall, using his con man's skills to bluff his fellow prisoners into being brave during an air raid -- are well worth the slow build-up. Also of note is Hannes Messemer's performance as Bardone's Colonel Mueller, a cultured Nazi officer who only reluctantly uses physical intimidation to get his way and then shrugs philosophically when a mass execution thwarts his quest for the leader's identity.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 12/3/2013
  • UPC: 816018010487
  • Original Release: 1959
  • Rating:

  • Source: Raro Video Usa Ltd.
  • Time: 2:18:00
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Sales rank: 35,795

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Vittorio De Sica Victorio Emanuele Bardone, Grimaldi
Hannes Messemer Col. Mueller
Giovanna Ralli Olga
Sandra Milo Valeria
Anne Vernon Chiara Fassio
Vittorio Caprioli Banchelli
Lucia Modugno The prostitute
Nando Angelini
Baronessa Barzani Contessa della Rovere
Ivo Garrani Fabrizio
Mary Greco The Madam
Otto Messmer
Luciano Pigozzi
Kurt Polter German officer
Giuseppe Rossetti Fabiizio/Pietro Valeri
Kurt Selge Schrantz
Linda Veras German attendant
Technical Credits
Roberto Rossellini Director, Screenwriter
Sergio Amidei Screenwriter
Carlo Carlini Cinematographer
Cesare Cavagna Editor
Moris Ergas Producer
Diego Fabbri Screenwriter
Anna Maria Montanari Editor
Indro Montanelli Screenwriter
Renzo Rossellini Score Composer
Piero Zuffi Art Director, Costumes/Costume Designer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
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    Posted July 25, 2011

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