Umberto D.

Umberto D.

Infobox Film
name = Umberto D.

caption =
director = Vittorio De Sica
producer = Giuseppe Amato
Vittorio De Sica
Angelo Rizzoli
writer = Vittorio De Sica
Cesare Zavattini
Cesare Zavattini (story)
starring = Carlo Battisti
Maria-Pia Casilio
Lina Gennari
music = Alessandro Cicognini
cinematography = Aldo Graziati
editing = Eraldo Da Roma
distributor = Dear Film (Italy theatrical)
Janus Films (US theatrical)
Fabulous Films (UK VHS)
Criterion (Region 1 DVD)
released = flagicon|Italy Jan 20, 1952
flagicon|USA Nov 7, 1955
runtime = 89 min
country = Italy
language = Italian
budget =
amg_id = 1:51639
imdb_id = 0045274

"Umberto D." is a 1952 Italian neorealist film, directed by Vittorio de Sica. Most of the actors were non-professional, including Carlo Battisti, who plays the title role. It tells the story of Umberto Domenico Ferrari (Carlo Battisti), an old man in Rome who is desperately trying to keep his apartment on a small state pension, but whose landlady (Lina Gennari) is attempting to drive out to fit her social lifestyle. He tries to find the money but is unwilling to beg to his richer friends, and cannot be helped by his only true friends, a pregnant maid (Maria-Pia Casilio) and his dog, Flike (called 'Flag' in some subtitled versions of the film).


The film begins with a march of elderly men for the raising of pensions which is quickly stopped by the police because the men had no permit to march. The crowd files out of the square, still muttering their protests, with the camera eventually focusing in on one of the marchers, Umberto D. Ferrari. He returns to his apartment, only for the landlady to threaten to kick him out at the end of the month, assuming he will not pay her fifteen thousand lire. Umberto goes out to sell his watch and some books in desperate attempts to raise the money, but can only hope to appease the landlady with half the funds required. These efforts to appease the landlady are sent through the housemaid, who is clearly sympathetic to Umberto, and reveals to him that she is pregnant, which will likely get her kicked out as well. The maid tells Umberto about her relationships with two soldiers, and how they are both abandoning her in her pregnancy. She and Umberto become friends through this mutual trust.

Umberto calls for doctors to take him to a hospital in an attempt to escape paying rent, and the maid is given care of Umberto's dog while he is away. The hospital eventually forces him to leave, with Umberto coming back to the apartment during extensive renovation. The landlady is changing and decorating the house to accommodate her fiancé, a cinema owner, and future social gatherings. This rennovation generally causes a mess in Umberto's room and sends the message that the landlady no longer plans to house him. Umberto contemplates suicide by stepping on the electrified trolley rail until discouraged by the image of his dog asleep on the bed.

Umberto then leaves the apartment after saying goodbye to the maid, and attempts to find a place for his dog to stay before finding where he himself will live. Umberto attempts to leave Flike with a couple who house over twenty dogs, then a little girl that he knows. As Flike plays with the girl in the park Umberto walks away hoping that Flike will not follow as Umberto knows Flike is better off with a home and loving children rather than have to face the streets with a homeless man. Despite Umberto's attempt to hide from Flike the dog finds Umberto hiding under a footbridge. Umberto is left with a terrible decision: live on the streets with the dog he loves or kill the dog thus saving Flike the pain of daily homeless life. In desperation Umberto walks towards a train track where a train is about to pass at high speed. Umberto holds Flike and walks under the protective barrier towards the oncoming train. Sensing danger Flike struggles and manages to free himself just before Umberto threw him, or both himself and Flike under the train. Umberto realizes what he very nearly did and chases after Flike who flees into the park. Flike attempts to hide but is eventually brought out of hiding by Umberto who is attempting to win back Flike's trust with a pine cone (used as a play toy). Umberto regains Flike's trust and together they walk through the park, Flike performing tricks while being praised by his master Umberto. 'Fin' flashes to the screen and the end credits roll.


* (1957) Cesare Zavattini Nominated for Best Writing, Motion Picture Story Academy Award
* (1957) Vittorio De Sica Nominated for the Grand Prix - Cannes film festival


External links

* [ Criterion Collection essay by Stuart Klawans]

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