Toth Database - Cinema

Miracle in Milan


Country of Production: Italy

Year : 1951

Duration: 100 min

Color: Black and White

Genre: Comedy

Director: Vittorio De Sica

Subject: Cesare Zavattini

Screenplay: Cesare Zavattini, Vittorio De Sica, Suso Cecchi D'Amico

Production Company : Società Produzioni De Sica 

Distribution : Enic

Photograph: Aldo Graziati

Editing by Eraldo Da Roma 

Special Effects: Ned Mann

Music: Alessandro Cicognini

Set design: Guido Fiorini

Costume design: Mario Chiari 



Performers and characters 



Emma Gramtica as Lolotta

Francesco Golisano as Totò

Paolo Stoppa as Rappi

Guglielmo Barnabò as Mobbi

Brunella Bovo as Hedwig

Anna Carena as Marta

Alba Arnova: The statue that comes to life

Flora Cambi: The Unhappy Sweetheart

Virgilio Riento: The Sergeant of the Guards

Arturo Bragaglia as Alfredo

Erminio Spalla as Gaetano

Riccardo Bertazzolo as The athlete

Angelo Prioli as The Commander-in-Chief

Francesco Rissone as The Commander-in-Second 






The film develops like a fairy tale and stars an orphaned boy who dreams of a world where "Good morning really wants to say good morning". He will end up befriending bums, he will become engaged to Hedwig and he will guide them in the finale in a piazza del Duomo crowded with garbage men to whom they will steal the brooms to fly away on horseback, to that imaginary country so desired. The scene from this "takeoff" inspired Steven Spielberg to stage kids on flying bikes in the movie E.T.





Based on the novel Totò il buono by Cesare Zavattini, Miracolo in Milano was born from the long collaboration between Zavattini and De Sica, to which other films of the neorealist period such as Umberto D., Sciuscià and Ladri di biciclette are due. The novel, published by Bompiani in 1943, after being serialized in the weekly Tempo, was the development of a three-page subject, written with four hands by Zavattini and Antonio de Curtis in 1940. Filming took place between February and June 1950. The film's working title was I poveri disturbano title which was changed following pressure from producers and some politicians who saw neorealism as a bad business card for Italy abroad. Especially because of the special effects, entrusted to American technicians, (in particular the aforementioned final flight on brooms and transparent images of the spirit of the mother and angels), the final expense splashed out at about 180 million lire, three times what bicycle thieves had cost, with a debt that would have be harassed the director-producer for several years.






Filmed in Milan, near Lambrate station, in 1950, when it went out in theaters it was received in a negative way by progressives and conservatives. 


The former considered him too evangelical and comforting (in the Soviet Union its spread was prohibited); the others, on the other hand, considered it an eversive and communist-inspired film. Probably what nobody liked was the choice to have the protagonists of a film of the inopeous and partying bums. Although De Sica has claimed consistency with the works immediately preceding it, some critics have identified in the film the predomination of the Zavattiniana imprint; hence the taste for strong contrasts - particularly between the poor and the rich - surrealist influences, the detachment from neorealism in favor of fantastic realism, with obvious "references to silent cinema, burlesque, pantomime, circus, comic book and animated design." The film was awarded the Grand Prix du Festival for Best Film at the 4th Cannes Film Festival. He was later selected from the 100 Italian films to save. 





On 6 and 8 November 2007, in the Teatro Municipale Valli in Reggio Emilia, the opera "Miracolo a Milano" was staged, freely based on "Miracolo a Milano" and " Totò il Buono ", with music by Giorgio Battistelli, commissioned for the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the theater.