T. int.: The Children Are Watching Us. Sog.: dal romanzo Pricò di Cesare Giulio Viola. Scen.: Margherita Maglione, Cesare Zavattini, Adolfo Franci, Gherardo Gherardi, Vittorio De Sica. F.: Giuseppe Caracciolo, Romolo Garroni. M.: Mario Bonotti. Scgf.: Amleto Bonetti, Gastone Medin, Guido Fiorini. Mus.: Renzo Rossellini. Su.: Tullo Parmeggiani, Bruno Brunacci. Int.: Luciano De Ambrosis (Pricò), Isa Pola (Dina, la madre di Pricò), Emilio Cigoli (Andrea, padre di Pricò), Giovanna Cigoli (Agnese), Armando Migliari (il commendatore), Achille Majeroni (cavalier Ponti), Jone Frigerio (nonna di Pricò), Maria Gardena (signora Uberti), Dina Perbellini (zia Berelli), Ernesto Calindri (Claudio). Prod.: Franco Magli per Scalera Film, Invicta Film. Pri. pro.: 27 ottobre 1944 35mm. D.: 90′. Bn.
per concessione di Cristaldi Film
We were in the middle of the war and my first important dramatic film I bambini ci guardano was taken up north, at a time when Italy was divided into two. They screened the film without my name in the head titles, because I was considered a traitor, not having done as my colleagues, going along with the last fascist regime. I heard that people liked the film. Soon afterwards it was shown in Rome, to a rather tepid reception. I recall hearing some sneers in the movie theater. Young people were prone to razz Italian films, having had their fill of our ‘self-sufficient’ cinema and were waiting impatiently to see American movies, which they hadn’t been able to see for quite some time. I made the mistake of worrying about those sneers. I went back into the editing room and started to recut the film. It was a mistake I wouldn’t realize I’d made until many years later. Seen in its original version, I bambini ci guardano has a very compelling story arc; the characters (the father, mother and child) are drawn very well, and the middle-class world is handled with a fairly accurate analytical sense.
Vittorio De Sica, in Gualtiero De Santi, Manuel De Sica (a cura di), I bambini ci guardano di Vittorio De Sica, Editoriale Pantheon, 1999
In those years the government did not allow artists to address the most pressing problems facing people in their lives: the lack of money, work, or survival itself. In that environment Vittorio De Sica made I bambini ci guardano, a film dealing with adultery, set amid a typical, struggling middle class family overwhelmed by economic and moral conditions. […] As a result I bambini ci guardano had a short run in the theaters, like Ossessione, though the former was not quite as polemic and didn’t generate as radical of a clampdown. It couldn’t help but be scandalous, and only saw the light of day after a long wait […]. The cast of characters is composed of: the husband, an accountant, from a middle-class family in the countryside; his wife, restless and unpredictable, unable to handle a situation she gets herself into; her wealthy lover; the world of the tailor’s shop (it’s evident that she married to climb the social ladder, becoming ‘Mrs. So and So, the bank employee’s wife’); the child, sweet and frail, not yet crushed by the weight of the world. […] The drama is precise and concrete, incited by the wife, who leaves home and then returns, only to once again slip back into her ways, ultimately leading to the suicide of her husband and the distancing from her son. […] I bambini ci guardano is told with great humanity, without phony sentiments or hypocrisy, and with extreme care and consideration […] Whatever inclinations of De Sica to tend toward De Amicis there might be, that might have weakened its impact, are entirely negated by its biting irony and implacable sarcasm.
Glauco Viazzi, I bambini ci guardano, “Cinema”, n. 76, December 15, 1951