10/01/2014  
Persecuted On VOD, DVD and Blu-Ray(TM) + DVD Combo Oct 14Masterpiece: Downton Abbey Seasons 1, 2, 3, & 4 on DVD Oct 21Secrets of Iconic British Estates on DVD Oct 14Don't Blink on DVD Oct 14Sherlock: The Complete Seasons 1-3 Limited Edition Gift Set Combo Nov 4Chef on Blu-ray & DVD & DIGITAL HD Sep 30

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Persecuted On VOD, DVD and Blu-Ray(TM) + DVD Combo Oct ...
'Gone Girl' Delicious Suburban Noir ...
Sadie Robertson's DWTS Photo Blog, Week 3: Pics of Fami...
Masterpiece: Downton Abbey Seasons 1, 2, 3, & 4 on DVD ...
Fall TV Ratings: The Simpsons Guy Scores Big ...

JB Joseph Burke

The Answer to American Idol's Problems Is......
CONCRETE BLONDES...
CREAM FAREWELL CONCERT...
JACK REACHER...
MANBORG...

CA Chuck Aliaga

CORRUPTION (BLU-RAY)...
THE ATTACK (BLU-RAY)...
TANK GIRL (BLU-RAY)...
HORROR STORIES...
THE UNINVITED (BLU-RAY)...

MZ Mark Zimmer

BABY PEGGY: THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM...
STORAGE WARS: VOLUME THREE...
Take Part in a Film Restoration...
THE 39 STEPS (BLU-RAY)...
DARK SHADOWS: THE BEST OF BARNABAS...

JS Jesse Shanks

2 BROKE GIRLS...
DOWNTON ABBEY SEASONS ONE & TWO LIMITED EDITION...
FLORENCE AND THE SPIRIT OF THE RENAISSANCE...
NAZI COLLABORATORS...
KATT WILLIAMS: KATTPACALYPSE...

RJ Ross Johnson

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP (BLU-RAY)...
PURPLE NOON (BLU-RAY)...
WEEKEND (BLU-RAY)...
JUAN OF THE DEAD...
THE DEVIL'S NEEDLE AND OTHER TALES OF VICE AND REDEMPTI...

RR Rich Rosell

BRAZIL (BLU-RAY)...
CHILDREN OF PARADISE (BLU-RAY)...
TWO ORPHAN VAMPIRES (BLU-RAY)...
TOMBOY...
BEST OF ANCIENT ALIENS (BLU-RAY)...

JD Jon Danziger

SUNSET BOULEVARD...
SALO, OR THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM...
TABLOID...
CUL-DE-SAC...
3 WOMEN...

JC Joel Cunningham

YOJIMBO/SANJURO...
SUMMER HOURS (L'heure d'ÈtÈ)...
WIZARD OF OZ...
WINGS OF DESIRE...
HORTON HEARS A WHO!...

DH Dan Heaton

REVANCHE...
LAST DAYS OF DISCO...
NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS...
STARGATE SG-1: CHILDREN OF THE GODS...
STARGATE ATLANTIS: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON...

MS Matt Serafini

THE STEPFATHER...
THE HILLS RUN RED...
MANAGEMENT...
NIGHT OF DEATH...
GNAW...

KC Kevin Clemons

Freddy Got Fingered...

JU Jeff Ulmer

Secure The Second Season of The Border on DVD August 25...
THE WALTONS: THE COMPLETE 9TH SEASON...
Dance Me Outside kicks onto DVD May 6, 2008...

DD Dale Dobson

Film-Fest 4: Sundance 2000 & Hawaii...

RM Robert Mandel

Saving Private Ryan...

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

The Criterion Collection presents
Le Notti bianche (1957)

"I don't expect you to believe anything. I told you my story—a common story, I know."
- Natalia (Maria Schell)

Review By: Matt Peterson   
Published: July 11, 2005

Stars: Marcello Mastroianni, Maria Schell, Jean Marais
Director: Luchino Visconti

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (adult themes)
Run Time: 01h:41m:36s
Release Date: July 12, 2005
UPC: 037429207826
Genre: foreign


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ BAB+ B

DVD Review

While the edge of Italian neorealism was turning blunt, director Luchino Visconti redirected his cinematic energy. La Notti bianche is a watershed film of sorts, marking a transition between the more historically based material of years prior to the kind of fantastical, almost mythical pageantry that would mark later films, most notably The Leopard. Gone is the gritty rigor of neorealist drama, replaced by the surreal setting of a small Italian town, Cinecittá style. Fairy tale love is the focus now, ironically rooted in the work of Dostoyevsky, whose writings tend to evoke the kind of grime and harshness afforded by real life.

Mario (Marcello Mastroianni) is a dreamer. After working a lowly day job that barely pays for his dingy hotel room, Mario wanders the streets, enjoying the night air. It is an activity for the young; he has the energy and vigor to enjoy the nightlife, and to sacrifice sleep in turn. One evening, Mario spots a lonely, yet inviting figure: it is Natalia (Maria Schell), a beautiful young girl whose heart has been broken. Her betrothed has left with a promise to return, but he is nowhere to be found. A year has passed, and their agreed meeting place on a lonely bridge has gone unused.

Mario is immediately smitten and quickly befriends Natalia. The naï've girl is reluctant to open up to the affable gentleman, but she soon warms up to his charms, and reveals her story. It is a common tale, one that subordinates poor Mario to the role of elder brother. His patience for her affection turns to frustration as Natalia's dream becomes an obsession. It is an odd pairing: Natalia's love (a brooding Jean Marais) was a tenant at her grandmother's house. A dark figure, he is not young and not quite old, and his mystique suggests a criminal background—certainly not the best companion for the doe-eyed blonde. Mario is convinced her suitor will never return, but the very hope of his arrival keeps Natalia alive.

The world of La Notti bianche is peculiar and intoxicating. Shot entirely within the hermetically sealed soundstages of the legendary Cinecittá studio, the film's sets are gargantuan, yet decidedly artificial. At no time is this a convincing outdoor setting—it has a kind of otherworldly feel that is no doubt intentional, but proves somewhat distracting. The setting enables Visconti to control the weather, and allows for some marvelous, almost stage-like transitions. Soon, the viewer becomes accustomed to this fictional world, where the events within are just as odd. This is a story of perpetual night; occasional mornings are glimpsed, but Mario's work life is irrelevant here—only the magical shroud of darkness is of any concern, as is the potential romance it produces.

Despite the film's intriguing visuals, the story is somewhat thin. True, atmosphere and style can provide a satisfying sense of substance, but La Notti bianche is somewhat laborious in its swooning, yearning, and aimless wandering. Regardless, there is a compelling sense of wonder here, propelled by the two protagonists. Marcello Mastroianni is wonderfully exuberant, looking for love in all the wrong places. It's quite intriguing to see this regular leading man take a subordinate position; Maria Schell's Natalia has all the control in this relationship, and her obsession with her lost lover is made all the more compelling by her angelic glow. Schell's earnest performance, in a language she could not speak before taking the role, is effective, almost bordering on the kind of silent expressionism found in del sarte.

Visconti seems compelled to redefine romanticism through an experience that is realistic, yet completely unreal. It is a paradoxical concept that manages to manifest itself, with mixed results. It's a fine blend of sweet and sour. Come to think of it, isn't that what love is all about?

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.66:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: Criterion's anamorphic 1.66:1 transfer is superb. The almost noir-like grayscale of Giuseppe Rotunno's cinematography is captured with impressive detail, solid contrast, and only some fine grain. Excellent.

Image Transfer Grade: A

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoItalianno


Audio Transfer Review: The Italian monaural is quite clear, and the film's rather sentimental score comes through nicely.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Documentaries
Weblink/DVD-ROM Material
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extra Extras:
  1. New audio recording of Dostoyevsky's White Nights
  2. Screen tests of Marcello Mastroianni and Maria Schell
  3. Insert with a new essay by film scholar Geoffrey Nowell-Smith
  4. Color bars
Extras Review: The disc's extras begin with a collection of interviews with Visconti's collaborators (16m:53s, 16:9). This piece, recorded in 2003, includes comments from screenwriter Suso Cecchi D'Amico, film critics Laura Delli Colli and Lino Micciché, cinematographer Giuseppe Rotunno, and costume designer Piero Tosi. Topics include casting, lighting, controlling the sets, and more.

Here's a nice touch: next is a new audio recording of the film's source material, Dostoyevsky's White Nights. Read by actor T. Ryder Smith, this rendition can also be accessed as an MP3 file via DVD-ROM (a first for DVD?); perfect for all you iPod fanatics out there.

You will also find brief silent screen tests for Marcello Mastroianni, Maria Shell, and the two together. A theatrical trailer is also included; all of these bits are in anamorphic widescreen.

Finally, the enclosed insert contains an analytical essay by film scholar Geoffrey Nowell-Smith.

Extras Grade: B

 

Final Comments

Luchino Visconti's fairy tale marks a transition from neorealism to neoromanticism. Its surreal atmosphere and superb performances help make up for the story's wanderings. Criterion's effort brings this important film into the light of day.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

drama, movie, david fincher, gillian flynn, gone girl, ben affleck, rosamund pike, television, dancing with the stars, abc, sadie robertson, mark balas, safe, photos, the simpsons, family guy, revenge, resurrection, brooklyn nine-nine, csi, madam secretary, once upon a time, documentary, comedy, equalizer, action, antoine fuqua, denzel washington, new youk film festival, rosamond pike, neil patrick harris, dance, s.h.i.e.l.d., coulson, skye, ward, hydramole, brett dalton, celebrities, chris martin, jennifer lawrence, celeb romance, horror, screen actors guild awards, juliette lewis, tom cruise, scientology, the big bang theory, scorpion, gotham, the voice, under the dome, forever, katharine mcphee, american idol, smash, taylor hicks, kids, hbo

On Kindle!
On Facbook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

earth mosaics

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

DVD Marketplace

Snappy Planet

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store