In 1914, a luxury ship leaves Italy in order to scatter the ashes of a famous opera singer. A lovable bumbling journalist chronicles the voyage and meets the singer's many eccentric friends and admirers.
Fausto Moretti, having seduced Sandra Rubini, the sister of his friend and companion Moraldo Rubini, is forced to marry her. After their honeymoon, he takes a job as a salesman of religious objects in a small shop. He isn't changed by his marriage and still looks for women, with his friends, when and where they can find them. He even tries to seduce the wife of his boss and is fired. After each episode, Sandra forgives him. He and his friends of similar temperament are content to be idle, chase girls and leave the work and job-hunting to others. After spending the night away from home with a girl, Sandra cannot forgive anymore and runs off with their child. Fausto and his friends search all over for them, fearing the worst.Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Trieste and co-star Sordi died a month apart in 2003, fifty years after release of film. See more »
When Sandra is called up to receive the 'Miss Mermaid' sash, she is on the left of the screen, to the right of the compere. As the actress comes up to present the sash, Sandra is seen standing on the compere's left. But when the actress presents the sash, Sandra is back on the left, to the right of the compere. See more »
I wonder if they're in Rome yet?
What a drag! You gotta know your way around Rome to have any real fun. If he'd gone with me, it'd be a different story. A couple of phone calls and we could have had a ball.
And what about Sandra?
I meant if we were single.
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Unjustly put into the back-seat of Federico Fellini's extraordinary career, I Vitelloni is a relatively simplistic tale of 30-something slackers in a small 1950's Italian town. While it doesn't stand out against works such as La Dolce Vita (1960) or 8 1/2 (1963), this shows a different side to Fellini's famous circus-tent approach, engaging Neo- Realist sensibilities to form a rather bleak, but nonetheless amusing autobiographical film. While Amarcord (1973) was a more straight-forward depiction of Fellini's childhood memories, I Vitelloni seems to be based on people he has observed, possibly while growing up, who, like him, sought to break out of small-town life. Amarcord was a sweet homage to his hometown, but I Vitelloni shows what this kind of life can do to a generation born to parents of sacrifice.
The Vitelloni (translated as 'the Boys') consist of Moraldo (Franco Interlenghi), a quiet, observant young man; Fausto (Franco Fabrizi), a handsome playboy; Alberto (Alberto Sordi), a daydreamer unhappy at his sister's affair with a married man; and Leopoldo (Leopoldo Trieste), the writer who harbours dreams of writing critically-adored plays. After Fausto gets Moraldo's sister Sandra (Leonora Ruffo) pregnant, he thinks about skipping town, but is talked out of it. He instead married Sandra, but continues to pursue women, whether they're single or taken, or even if they're married to his boss. With carnival approaching, we witness the group try their best to do as little as possible. They all dream of escaping the town, but do nothing to help it. Instead, they drink, gamble and chase women.
Fellini doesn't have disdain for these characters, but shows them for what they are. They see their parents and grandparents, old and seemingly miserable, and see what their sacrifice has brought them. So, naturally, they rebel. Fausto is undoubtedly a loathsome character, even going as far as leaving a cinema half-way through a movie, where he is with his wife, to chase a beautiful woman. But for all his flaws, he still manages to gather sympathy. It seems like he simply cannot stop, locked into a life in which he doesn't belong, but he is solely responsible for. Yet for all his complexities, you can't help but feel relieved when he is given his comeuppance by his father. It's a clever juxtaposition of the generations, and although society will always produce a 'generation X', sometimes a good slap in the face is what is needed.
Although Fellini remains somewhat reserved throughout the majority of the film, choosing a still, controlled camera, he breaks out of the neo- Realism approach about half-way through for a scene in which carnival comes to town, with the sound of a lonesome drunken trumpet player running in a circle bellowing in an abandoned dance hall, as the catatonic Alberto staggers outside. It's the style that he would explode with in later years, as giant paper-mache heads poke out amongst sweaty party-goers. It helps counteract the seriousness of the movie's themes, perhaps even subtly elevating it, but it's the film's touching final sentiment that will stay with you, as a train carries one of the Vitelloni out of the town. Whether he will be back, or whether it will finally allow him to be happy we don't know, and that's a tragic statement if there ever was one.
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