Toth Database - Cinema
Duration: 93 min
Director: Vittorio De Sica
Producer: Paolo William Tamburella
Photograph: Anchise Brizzi
Editing by Niccolò Lazzari
Music: Alessandro Cicognini
Scenography: Ivo Battelli
Performers and characters
Franco Interlenghi as Pasquale Maggi
Rinaldo Smordoni as Giuseppe Filipucci
Annielo Mele as Raffaele
Bruno Ortenzi as Archangels
Emilio Cigoli as Staffera
Leo Garavaglia as Commissioner
Gino Saltamerenda as the "Panza"
Anna Pedestrians as Nannarella
Enrico Da Silva as Giorgio
Maria Campi as chiromante
Mario Volpicelli as Prison Director
Antonio Nicotra as jailer
Claudio Ermelli as nurse
Peppino Spadaro as lawyer
Angelo D'amico as The Sicilian
Pacific Astrologer as Vittorio
Francesco De Nicola as Ciriola
Antonio Lo Nigro as Righetto
Antonio Carlino as Abruzzo
Irene Smorboni as Giuseppe's mother
Leonardo Bragaglia as boy
Pasquale and Giuseppe work as shoe shiners on the sidewalks of Via Veneto in Rome. As soon as they can they run to Villa Borghese and with 300 lire they rent a white horse called Bersagliere and ride it in two. With the complicity of Attilio, Joseph's older brother, the two find themselves unintentionally involved in a theft at the home of a cartoman, to whom they wanted to resell American blankets under the commission of the "Panza" (man who trafficked objects illegally). Before being arrested and taken to a juvenile prison they manage to realize their dream: to buy Bersagliere. The Horse will be entrusted to the care of a groom. The boys are locked up in different cells and experience deception and revenge. The commissioner and the director of the prison make Pasquale believe that Giuseppe will be whipped if he does not reveal the names of the accomplices of the theft at the cartomante. Pasquale will fall into the trap and speak. When Giuseppe, ignoring the reason why he did it, learns that his friend has made his brother's name, he decides to take revenge and reveals to Staffera, the assistant of the director, that in Pasquale's cell, a file is hidden in Pasquale's cell. Events precipitate: During a film screening, Giuseppe and his cellmate escape from prison. Pasquale, for fear of losing Bersagliere, reveals to Stafffera where the two escapees are and leads him to the stable where the horse is kept. On a bridge near the stable, Pasquale confronts Giuseppe riding Bersagliere. Arcangeli flees while Giuseppe, left alone, gets off the horse and Pasquale begins to whip him with his belt, so Joseph stumbles, falls from the shoulder of the bridge and dies. Pasquale, finding himself in a craving for revenge, can only mourn his desperate friend, screaming his pain to the world as the police approach and Bersagliere walks away from the bridge.
Produced by Paolo Willian Tamburella for ALFA Cinematografica, the film was shot in the Scalera studios in via della Circonvallazione Appia in Rome, in the autumn of 1945 and released in theaters on April 27, 1946.
« Together with the two films Roma Città Aperta and Paisà this by De Sica was considered the third masterpiece of neorealism, both for the theme addressed:
( the abandoned boys who give themselves to delinquency in a Rome upset by war and occupied by allied troops), both for the style of representation
( a narrative as documentary as possible with characters taken from the street as documentary as possible with characters taken from the street and environments from the real). The film tells the tragic story of Pasquale and Giuseppe involved in a robbery and locked in a reformatory.
Here awaiting trial they come into contact with other boys who have been misled, mistreated and misled, their own friendship cools down.
Eventually they flee the reformatory towards they are mistreated and misled, their own friendship cools.
Eventually as they flee the reformatory towards the freedom represented by a white horse, Joseph dies because of his friend
Sciuscià marks a deep censorship in De Sica's directorial career, almost a break, stylistic and content compared to the works of 1940–45.
Where a slight sentimental, more often comic vein prevailed in those films
– sentimental, here a spirit of denunciation and deep sensitivity becomes imperious
For the most tragic cases of human and social reality. The style that is not as dry as Rossellini's and still welcomes certain tones a little easy, however, acquires a maturity of eloquee that will find the right tones in the daily tragedy of bicycle thieves and especially in Umberto D."
(Gianni Rondolino Bolaffi Catalogue of Italian cinema vol. 1)
The film grossed £55,800,000 in 1952