Toth Database - Cinema
Rome Open City
Duration: 100 min
Directed by Roberto Rossellini
Producer: Excelsa Film
Photograph: Ubaldo Arata
Editing by Eraldo from Rome
Music: Renzo Rossellini
Set design: Rosario Megna
Performers and characters:
Anna Magnani as Pina
Aldo Fabrizi as Don Pietro Pellegrini
Marcello Pagliero as Luigi Ferraris, aka engineer Giorgio Manfredi
Maria Michi as Marina Mari
Francesco Grandjacquet as Francis
Giovanna Galletti as Ingrid
Harry Feist as Major Fritz Bergman
Nando Bruno as Augustine, Alias Purgatory, the Sagrestan
Turi Pandolfini as Grandfather
Eduardo Passarelli: Metropolitan brigadier
Amalia Pellegrini as Nannina
Alberto Tavazzi: Confessor priest
Akos Tolnay: Austrian defector
Joop van Hulzen as Captain Hartmann
Lauro Gazzolo as Luigi Ferraris, engineer Giorgio Manfredi
Rosetta Calavetta as Lauretta
Gualtiero De Angelis as Francesco
Roswita Schmidt as Ingrid
Giulio Panicali as Major Fritz Bergamnn
Ferruccio Amendola as Marcello
The story begins after the armistice of Cassibile: the Allies have landed in Italy and are advancing north but have not yet arrived in the capital, where the resistance is already active. Giorgio Manfredi, a communist militant and prominent man of the resistance, escapes a police raid and takes refuge with Francesco, an anti-fascist printer who, the following day, is expected to marry Pina, a widow mother of a child. Pina's sister Lauretta is an artist in a club together with another young woman, Marina romantically linked in the past to Manfredi; Don Pietro, the local parish priest, never denies help to the persecuted politicians and act as spokesman for the partisans. He is well-liked and respected by everyone, including Manfredi and his gang of small saboteurs, and manages to easily pass through the controls of German soldiers and the SS without arousing suspicion. Manfredi escapes in a German raid while Francesco is arrested and, the moment he is loaded into the truck that will take him away, Pina shouts all his protest trying to reach him but falls under fire from the machine guns in front of Don Pietro and his little son. Later Francesco manages to escape and hides, with Manfredi in Marina's house. The disagreements break out and the girl's resentment grows for Manfredi, so much so that Marina, to obtain drugs, betrays the man by denouncing him to Ingrid, gestapo agent in the service of Commander Bergmann. Manfredi is arrested during a meeting with Don Pietro and both are taken prisoner. Manfredi suffers terrible torture and dies while Don Pietro is shot. Marina and Lauretta increasingly fall into moral abjectness but Francesco, Marcello and his boys will continue the fight.
The film, which was supposed to be called Storie d'ieri, was born as a documentary about Morosini, a priest who really existed in Rome and was killed by the Nazis in 1944. Soon also thanks to the contributes of Federico Fellini, added to the other authors in the script phase, the film enriched itself with stories and characters and thus became a feature film, the shooting of the priest that was to constitute the main theme of the documentary, became the dramatic conclusion of a choral story about daily life in a city dominated by fear, misery, delination and degradation. The film was made thanks to the contribution of Aldo Venturini, a wool merchant who financed the film, it was Roberto Rossellini who convinced Venturini to complete the film as a producer, since when they started shooting the crew he stopped for lack of liquidity.
The character of Don Pietro is inspired by Don Giuseppe Morosini and Don Pietro Pappagallo.
Pina's is inspired by Teresa Gullace, a woman killed by Nazi soldiers while trying to speak to her imprisoned husband of the Germans, an episode that inspired the final scene of the film.
The historian Aurelio Lepre has criticized the representation of the Roman Resistance offered by Rossellini's film, believing that it has transformed the struggle of narrow resistance of resistance fighters into an unlikely struggle of the entire citizenry, so as to deliver to the collective memory not the frightened Rome and all closed in the problems of the supervivence that was in reality, but a tragic and heroic Rome.
According to Hare Roma open city contributed to the removal of the responsibilities of the Italian people for supporting the fascist regime and fighting alongside the Germans until 1943.