Il Generale Della Rovere

( 4 )

Overview

After winning worldwide acclaim as a pioneer of the neorealist style with Open City (1945), Paisan (1946) and Germany Year Zero (1948), director Roberto Rossellini avoided the subject of war, fearful of repeating himself, but when he returned to the theme of Italy struggling with fascism from within and without during World War II, he created one of his last great international successes. Il Generale Della Rovere won the Golden Lion at the 1959 Venice Film Festival and was nominated for a Best Screenplay Oscar in...
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Overview

After winning worldwide acclaim as a pioneer of the neorealist style with Open City (1945), Paisan (1946) and Germany Year Zero (1948), director Roberto Rossellini avoided the subject of war, fearful of repeating himself, but when he returned to the theme of Italy struggling with fascism from within and without during World War II, he created one of his last great international successes. Il Generale Della Rovere won the Golden Lion at the 1959 Venice Film Festival and was nominated for a Best Screenplay Oscar in the United States, and now it makes its belated North American DVD debut in this edition from the Criterion Collection. Il Generale Della Rovere has been transferred to disc in its original full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and the image quality is first-rate. Taken from an excellent source print, the disc boasts an ambitious scale of gray tones and fine contrast, and demonstrates just how good a well-photographed black and white film can look on DVD. The audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Mono, and the fidelity is very good given the age of the film. The dialogue is in Italian, with optional English subtitles but no multiple language options. As a bonus, this release includes interviews with three of Roberto Rossellini's children -- actress Isabella Rossellini, filmmaker Renzo Rossellini and educator Ingrid Rossellini -- who offer their perspectives on the director's life and work, as well a chat with film critic and historian Adriano Apra, who discusses the picture's historical basis and creative strengths. Rossellini biographer Tag Gallagher contributes an illustrated essay on Il Generale Della Rovere entitled The Choice, and the original Italian trailer for the feature is also included. Finally, the accompanying booklet includes a thoughtful essay by James Monaco and a brief interview with Indro Montanelli, who wrote the book that was the basis for Rossellini's screenplay. Despite its critical acclaim, Il Generale Della Rovere hasn't enjoyed the same attention in the United States as Roberto Rossellini's other World War II projects, but it has stood the test of time as a brave and compelling work from a trailblazing director, and the excellence of Criterion's DVD release will hopefully spark the resurgence of interest the film deserves.
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Special Features

New Video Interviews with Isabella, Renzo, and Ingrid Rossellini, as well as film scholar Adriano Aprà; ; The Choice, a new visual essay by Tag Gallagher, Author of The Adventures of Roberto Rossellini; ; Original Theatrical Trailer; Plus: A booklet featuring a new essay by film critic James Monaco and an excerpt from a 2000 interview with Indro Montanelli, the author of the story that inspired the film
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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: 3/31/2009
  • UPC: 715515042611
  • Original Release: 1959
  • Rating:

  • Source: Criterion
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 2:12:00
  • Format: DVD

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
Baronessa Barzani Contessa della Rovere
Ivo Garrani Fabrizio
Otto Messmer
Giuseppe Rossetti Fabiizio/Pietro Valeri
Nando Angelini
Mary Greco The Madam
Luciano Pigozzi
Kurt Polter German officer
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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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Generale Della Rovere
1. Opening Credits [2:46]
2. Roadside Assistance [5:29]
3. "Salami Again" [5:13]
4. Mr Borghesio [3:42]
5. Sergeant Major Hageman [6:36]
6. Good News at the Bar [5:18]
7. Olga and the Oriental Sapphire [10:46]
8. The General Arrives [3:18]
9. "Don't Despair, Madam" [4:04]
10. Colonel Müller [3:52]
11. Bad News at the Bar [6:39]
12. A Way Out Is Offered [7:23]
13. General Della Rovere [4:46]
14. Communications [5:29]
15. Partisan Meeting [5:05]
16. Nine New Prisoners [5:52]
17. Banchelli, The Barber [6:11]
18. Air Raid [2:15]
19. Passing The Note [5:11]
20. Countess Della Rovere [4:51]
21. "Do You Know Who Fabrizio Is?" [3:29]
22. "Murderers!" [5:05]
23. Awaiting Orders [5:36]
24. Awaiting Fate [9:04]
25. "Viva L'Italia!" [4:16]
31. Color Bars [:00]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Generale Della Rovere
   Play
   Chapters
   Interviews
      Isabella Rossellini
         Play
      Renzo Rossellini
         Play
      Ingrid Rossellini
         Play
      Adriano Aprà
         Play
   The Choice
      Play
   Trailer
   Subtitles
      Subtitles: On
      Subtitles: Off
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
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    Posted July 25, 2011

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    Posted July 25, 2010

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    Posted May 23, 2009

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    Posted November 18, 2010

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