Bicycle Thief

The Bicycle Thief

4.6 9
Director: Vittorio De Sica

Cast: Lamberto Maggiorani, Lianella Carell, Enzo Staiola

     
 

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Vittorio De Sica's The Bicycle Thief (1949) comes to DVD in a respectable if not dazzling DVD, in a decent-looking edition that suffers from all of the usual problems associated with post-World War II European films. There was a lot of poor film stock floating around Europe at the time, and as a result, many of the movies shot in Italy, France, Germany, etc.…  See more details below

Overview

Vittorio De Sica's The Bicycle Thief (1949) comes to DVD in a respectable if not dazzling DVD, in a decent-looking edition that suffers from all of the usual problems associated with post-World War II European films. There was a lot of poor film stock floating around Europe at the time, and as a result, many of the movies shot in Italy, France, Germany, etc. during the years immediately following the war have never looked pristine; it's in the negative itself, and all of the restoration work in the world won't completely cure it (as those who have looked at the various upgrades of Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast and other late '40s films can attest). There are occasional scratches in the source print for this disc, as well as missing frames and edits that don't seem terribly smooth, but the contrast is fairly rich, and there's a decent amount of detail, despite a slight softness in the transfer. The producers of this disc did their best, and even offer the movie in Italian (with and without subtitles) and dubbed into English. It's especially enlightening to compare the two soundtracks; some of the sequences in the original Italian that have music are done without music on the English-dubbed track, and some music from the original is shifted around between scenes on the English-dubbed track. The audio on the Italian-language track is a little compressed, but not so badly as to mar the viewing experience. The voice actors in the dubbed version try hard to do their parts and tell the story dramatically, but they're a pale shadow of the original, and not all of the dubbing is terribly accurate either. There's also a good essay about the movie by playwright Arthur Miller and an English-narrated trailer dating from 1972 that looks a bit better than the actual film. The movie and the trailer alike are presented in full-frame (1.33:1) transfers. The disc opens automatically to the movie, and the special features must be accessed manually.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Monica McIntyre
A classic of postwar Italian neo-realism, Vittorio De Sica's THE BICYCLE THIEF is considered one of the greatest films ever made. The story follows a desperately poor man, Antonio Ricci (Lamberto Maggiorani), who, after years of crippling unemployment, lands a job pasting posters (advertising a Rita Hayworth movie) around war-ravaged Rome. When the bicycle he needs for the job is stolen, he and his son, Bruno (Enzo Staiola), venture into the rubble-strewn city, confronting chaos, extreme poverty, and moral dilemmas. Through his choice of subject matter, use of actual locations, and casting of nonprofessional actors, De Sica achieved an uncompromising visual authenticity that contrasted sharply both with many Hollywood films of the time and with Italian films made under the fascist regime. In doing so, he tapped into a rich vein of human emotion. A delicately wrought fable with a fine, ironic ending, THE BICYCLE THIEF is a spare, eloquent masterpiece.
All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
Though not the first Italian Neo-Realist film seen outside of Italy (or even Vittorio De Sica's first Neo-Realist work), The Bicycle Thief (1948) is considered the seminal film of the movement, alongside Roberto Rossellini's Rome, Open City (1945). Following the guiding Neo-Realist precept of drawing stories from the daily life of post-war Italy, De Sica and writer Cesare Zavattini carefully interweave a wider view of Italian culture with a portrait of the bond between a father and son, revealing the impact of poverty and bureaucratic absurdities on one of many struggling families. Shooting on location with non-professional actors in the two leads (well-coached by actor De Sica), De Sica's mobile camera transforms moments of Antonio's odyssey into poetic images of isolation and despair, while never losing sight of the gritty hardships of quotidian experience. An even greater international sensation than his first Neo-Realist film (Shoeshine (1946)), The Bicycle Thief earned a special Oscar for Best Foreign Film and became a signature work for a movement that also included Bitter Rice (1948), Luchino Visconti's La Terra Trema (1948), and De Sica's Umberto D. (1952). Inspiring filmmakers across the world as an alternative to expensive Hollywood fantasy, The Bicycle Thief revealed the potential power of combining local concerns with an unflinching cinematic style.

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Product Details

Release Date:
11/24/1998
UPC:
0014381457223
Original Release:
1948
Rating:
NR
Source:
Image Entertainment
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[B&W]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital, monaural]
Time:
1:29:00

Special Features

Original Italian dialogue soundtrack with English subtitles; Dubbed English dialogue soundtrack; Theatrical trailer (in English)

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Lamberto Maggiorani Antonio Ricci
Lianella Carell Maria Ricci
Enzo Staiola Bruno Ricci
Elena Altieri The Lady
Vittorio Antonucci The Thief
Gino Saltamerenda Bajocco
Michele Sakara Actor
Fausto Guerzoni Amateur Actor
Nando Bruno Actor
Memmo Carotenuto Actor
Umberto Spadaro Actor

Technical Credits
Vittorio De Sica Director,Producer,Screenwriter
O. Biancoli Screenwriter
Alessandro Cicognini Score Composer
Suso Cecchi D'Amico Screenwriter
Adolfo Franci Screenwriter
Carlo Montuori Cinematographer
Eraldo Da Roma Editor
Antonio Traverso Art Director
Cesare Zavattini Screenwriter

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Scene Index

Side #1--
0. Side #1--
0. Chapter Scenes
1. Main Title; Getting a Job. [6:10]
2. Ricci's Transportation. [4:55]
3. The One Who Sees. [7:37]
4. The Bicycle Thief. [6:43]
5. Baiocco's Help. [4:30]
6. The search. [8:40]
7. Rain Men. [4:04]
8. "It's The Thief!." [5:30]
9. Mass Hysteria. [11:02]
10. Lunch Break. [5:05]
11. Back to the Seer. [4:20]
12. Face to Face. [11:01]
13. Desperate Measures. [8:12]
14. End Credits. [1:04]

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The Bicycle Thief 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
vmwrites More than 1 year ago
For any cinemphile who wants to learn more about Italian Neorealism, I consider the Absolute Essentials to include Bicycle Thieves, Umberto D, and La Strada. For those unfamiliar with this genre, the Italian Neorealist films depicted the social and economic poverty of the period after WW2, in a country whose administrative infrastructure was being reconstructed, whose people were recovering from the destruction of war, and whose spirit was muddied by one disappointment after another. Bicycle Thieves presents a panorama of life in Italy at a critical juncture. And what makes this film - and others like it - so poingnant and so moving is the on-location cinemtography, the genuine and sometimes brutal look at poverty, and the use of non-actors. This is an absolute MUST for any cinema collection. And for those who are willing to venture into Italian Neorealism, there are the Japanese Postwar films that go hand in hand with their Italian counterparts. No film collection would be complete without these.
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