Toth Database - Cinema
Duration: 89 min
Director: Vittorio De Sica
Producer: Giuseppe Amato, Angelo Rizzoli, Vittorio De Sica
Photograph: G.R. Aldo
Editing by Eraldo from Rome
Music: Alessandro Cicognini
Scenography: Virgilio Marchi
Performers and characters
Carlo Battisti as Umberto Domenico Ferrari
Maria Pia Casilio as Maria, the servant
Lina Gennari as Antonia the landlady
Elena Rea as Sister
Memmo Carotenuto: a patient
Alberto Albani Barbieri as Antonia's friend
Rome. An unauthorized procession of pensioners, whose signs read: 'Increase pensions. We have worked all our lives', he is cleared by the police.
Some elderly people take refuge in the atrium of a building: among them there is Umberto Domenico Ferrari, for thirty years an official at the Ministry of Public Works with a pension of 18,000 lire per month. At noon Umberto goes to the soup kitchen having to sell his watch for 3,000 lire in order to pay the rent. Back home he finds his room temporarily occupied by a couple to whom the mistress sublet the room in his absence: he protests but the landlady, in response, threatens him with eviction if he does not pay the arrears. Umberto, left alone in the kitchen, talks to the young sympathetic servant Maria, who reveals that she is pregnant and does not know her real father: both her two lovers a soldier from Florence and one from Naples, deny. two thousand more lire from the sale of some books, comes to offer him five thousand. Feverish, the man beds on the bed. The next day, suffering from tonsillitis, he is admitted to the hospital where Maria and Flaik visit him and where he stays as many days as possible so as to save on the pyjamas and be able to pay the debt. When she leaves the hospital, leaves the address to her sleeping neighbor and returns home, she discovers that renovations are underway in view of the mistress's wedding which wants to turn her room into a living room for worldly receptions. While searching for the dog, Umberto finds Maria in tears, abandoned by the two soldiers reluctant to take on the uncertain responsibility of fatherhood. The young woman tells him that the animal ran away from the house after the mistress had deliberately left the door open. In apprehension for Flaik, the man goes to the kennel where he finds him just in time to avoid his suppression. Around the city he comes across an old friend now wealthy pensioner, to whom he confides his difficult situation: but the friend pulls back with the excuse of being in a hurry to take the tram. Seeing the ease with which a beggar manages to get alms, Umberto in turn tries to ask for it but his dignity prevents him. He then tries to make Flaik close the alms by making him hold his hat in his mouth while he is hiding on the sidelines: but when a commendatore passes by his acquaintance, Umberto is ashamed of it and pretends nothing claiming that Flaik was just playing. Back in his room devastated by the work in progress, Umberto resigns. The next morning he packs his suitcase, greets Maria and takes the tram. He goes to the park and tries to give it to a little girl he knows but his housekeeper categorically prevents him. Determined to commit suicide, with Flaik in his arms, he passes a level crossing with the bars lowered, taking himself near the tracks as the train approaches. The dog senses the danger and, terrified, writhes from Umberto's narrow grip freeing himself and running away towards the park. The train passes away and Umberto chases after the dog that goes to hide behind an Alberto no longer trusting his master. But the old man urges him to play with him by throwing away a pine cone and inviting him to take it back. The two reconcile and, as they continue to play, move away in the driveway just as a sleet of vocire children runs behind a ball in the opposite direction towards the camera.
Carlo Battisti who plays Umberto D was professor of glotology at the University of Florence, and author, together with Giovanni Alessio and the other collaborators, of the Italian Etymological Dictionary, this is his only film. It is said that at the audition, out of emotion, he showed up with two ties.
Giulio Andreotti, undersecretary of the show at the time, wrote about Libertà.
"While it is true that evil can be fought even by laying bare the rawest aspects, it is true that if in the world one is wrongly led to believe that that of Umberto D is Italy of the middle of the twentieth century, De Sica will have rendered a bad service to his homeland, which is also the homeland of Don Bosco, Of Forlanini and of advanced social legislation"
Maria Pia Casilio is another non-professional actress who will become a character.
She was paid a great deal for the time, two million lire, which she herself prevailed without being aware of the extent of the request: Vittorio De sica accepted because he considered her an important face for her history and an interesting film presence.
The film grossed 107.789.000