Umberto D. Blu-ray Review
“Umberto D.” is an emotionally draining classic film.
Set in postwar Rome, “Umberto D.” revolves around a lonely elderly man (Umberto) who struggles to survive off of his small government pension. With little money and few possessions, Umberto is trying to find a way to pay his overdue rent to his cruel landlady. As depression and tonsillitis befall Umberto, he must find strength through his pet dog (Filke) and his only friend (the building maid Maria).
“Umberto D.” is not the type of film you can pop in frequently as it’s a rather tough watch. In these tough economical times, this 1952 feature feels all too real and timely as financial difficulties are becoming an increasingly major concern for people of all ages across the globe. Still, the fact that this film is emotionally challenging should not stop one from seeing. “Umberto D.” is an important, tearjerking, day-in-the-life character study of an everyman trying to make ends meet while realizing the value of his friendships (whether they be human or animal). The film is not action oriented nor does it have a definite resolution. Instead, it feels like life itself- a series of emotional ups and downs. It may not be for everyone, but if you’re willing to take this journey, it might just make you think about your own life. And really, isn’t that what a good or even great film should do?
The film, which is presented in 1.37:1 1080p, will not disappoint fans of Vittorio De Sica’s classic. While the opening credits are a bit wavy and dirt spec filled, the rest of the film looks as good as you would hope. The lush B&W cinematography positively shines here thanks to another incredible job by the folks at Criterion.
The Uncompressed Mono audio track does the job. It’s certainly not 5.1 level audio as the track is a bit soft, but it’s satisfactory nonetheless.
* “Umberto D.” trailer.
* Another superb booklet featuring an essay by film critic Stuart Klawans as well as excerpts from director Vittorio De Sica and actor Carlo Battisti talking about the film.
* An interview with Maria Pia Casilio in which she discusses her character (Maria) and the experience of being cast by and working with director Vittorio De Sica.
* “That’s Life: Vittorio De Sica”- A 55 minute made for TV documentary about the work of acclaimed director Vittorio De Sica. Clips of his films, behind-the-scenes footage and photos of De Sica, and even interview clips with De Sica are included here.
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