Open City

  • 1945
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama, War

In its time, OPEN CITY was an innovative fusion of documentary and melodrama. Filmed on the streets, without the use of sound recorders (dialogue was dubbed in later), during the months just after the Allies liberated Italy from the grip of Fascism, the film has the appearance of a documentary. The actors, except for Anna Magnani (then a sometime dance-hall...read more

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In its time, OPEN CITY was an innovative fusion of documentary and melodrama. Filmed on the streets, without the use of sound recorders (dialogue was dubbed in later), during the months just after the Allies liberated Italy from the grip of Fascism, the film has the appearance of a

documentary. The actors, except for Anna Magnani (then a sometime dance-hall girl), were all nonprofessionals. The backgrounds were not constructions on a Cinecitta lot, but actual apartments, shops, and streets--a change for those used to sets and costumes. Set in Rome, 1943-44, the story brings

together two enemy forces--the Communists and the Catholics--and unites them in the fight for their country's liberation. Manfredi (Marcello Pagliero) is a Resistance leader wanted by the Germans who must deliver some money to his compatriots. Hiding out in the apartment block of Francesco

(Francesco Grandjacquet) and his pregnant fiancee, Pina (Magnani), Manfredi plans to let a Catholic priest, Don Pietro (Aldo Fabrizi), make the delivery. When their building is raided, Francesco is arrested and hauled away. Pino chases after him, screaming, and is gunned down in the middle of the

street. Manfredi takes refuge in the apartment of his mistress, Marina (Maria Michi). She's a drug addict who, unknown to him, snitches for her dealer, an outrageous lesbian Gestapo agent (Giovanna Galleti). As excellent as OPEN CITY is, it has often been criticized for its simplistic moral scheme

and emotional manipulation. Renzo Rossellini's score and various comic contrivances, for instance, don't jibe with the supposedly objective aims of neorealist cinema. Most videotape copies offer prints of mediocre quality and often unreadable subtitles.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: In its time, OPEN CITY was an innovative fusion of documentary and melodrama. Filmed on the streets, without the use of sound recorders (dialogue was dubbed in later), during the months just after the Allies liberated Italy from the grip of Fascism, the fi… (more)

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