Vittorio De Sica

Sog.: Cesare Zavattini dal romanzo omonimo (1946) di Luigi Bartolini. Scen.: Oreste Bianconi, Cesare Zavattini, Suso Cecchi d’Amico, Adolfo Franci, Gherardo Gherardi, Vittorio De Sica, Gerardo Guerrieri. F.: Carlo Muontori. M.: Eraldo Da Roma. Scgf.: Antonino Traverso. Mus.: Alessandro Cicognini. Int.: Lamberto Maggiorani (Antonio Ricci), Enzo Stajola (Bruno Ricci), Lianella Carell (Maria Ricci), Elena Altieri (la patronessa), Gino Saltamerenda (Baiocco), Vittorio Antonucci (il ladro), Giulio Chiari (attacchino), Michele Sakara (il segretario alla beneficenza), Fausto Guerzoni (filodrammatico), Carlo Jachino (il mendicante). Prod.: Vittorio De Sica per Produzioni De Sica. DCP. D.: 90’. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

We travelled around a lot. We saw things we liked; we wrote about them. There is a lengthy diary on Ladri di biciclette, which Zavattini published somewhere. But the film was entirely written down. It was created in the streets and created around a table: both things are true. For example, the episode of the holy woman. She lived on via Nomentana, right in front of Villa Torlonia. We went there many times; we sat in on her sessions, and then we wrote the scene. Screenplays should be written with the director who will make the film in mind. Ladri di biciclette was written for De Sica, while thinking about De Sica. Who knows whether anyone else would have made it! Furthermore, it is through this contact with the director – discussing and, perhaps, even criticising his poetics – that the work of the screenwriter becomes more exciting, less mechanical. There were many screenwriters on each film, because we never really gave it a thought! Think of Ladri di biciclette. It all started with Zavattini and Amidei. Amidei withdrew because he did not find the film congenial and so they called me. And we wrote it: De Sica, Zavattini, Gerardo Guerrieri and me. And there was also the name of Gherardo Gherardi, a comedy writer I never met, and who was listed simply because De Sica had said “We will make the next film together” shortly before he died. Then we had to find an excuse to give a little money to an old friend, Franci. So in his name went, too! We simply did not give it a thought. Zavattini became excessively well-known, because many of us worked on Ladri di biciclette but in the end it seemed as if he alone had written it, because he was the one who theorised about it, gave interviews, wrote… We went around the city to confirm the places where the action would take place; then we would sit around a table in Zavattini’s house, a close-knit group. Then Zavattini’s fame and importance grew and this also led to a famous rivalry with De Sica, because Zavattini did not subscribe to the absolute supremacy of the director and instead strongly believed in the importance of the screenwriter, and in his own work above all.

Suso Cecchi d’Amico in L’avventurosa storia del cinema italiano. Da Ladri di biciclette a La grande guerra, Vol. 2, edited by Franca Faldini and Goffredo Fofi, Edizioni Cineteca di Bologna, Bologna 2011

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Restored in 2018 by Cineteca di Bologna, Compass Film and Istituto Luce – Cinecittà in collaboration with Arthur Cohn and Euro Immobilfin at L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory