Scen.: Jack Salvatori, Umberto Sacripanti; Direz. della recitazione: Umberto Sacripanti; F.: Vittorio Della Valle, Carlo Montuori; M.: Mario Serandrei; Scgf.: Giancarlo Simonazzo; Mu.: Giovanni Fusco; Ass. R.: Ubaldo Magnaghi, Sergio Grieco; Int.: Rolando Lupi (William Solieri), Carla Del Poggio (Barbara), Janet Wolfe (Joan Bennett), Mauro Keeny (lo sciuscià), Gino Cervi (Mr. Kenny), Umberto Sacripanti (Zio Mattechella), Aldo Silvani (il filosofo), Franca Dominici (la maestra), Michèle Sorel (la puerpera), Domenico Palumbo (il compare), Alberto De Rossi (Antonio); Prod.: Umberto Sacripanti per l’Istituto Nazionale Luce con la coll. del Ministero per l’Assistenza Postbellica e dell’U.N.R.R.A.; 35mm. D.: 95’.
There are two good reasons why this muddle of a film should be presented to the patient, historicist branch of archival cinephilia (burning cinephiles can instead abstain from viewing this justly forgotten film). Like with Ms. Loren, it is possible to add and take away at will an H, Latin in this case, to and from the original title in Italian: Umanità or rather Humanitas. Taking the H as a symptom for a film that was half Allied and half Vatican extremist, the Istituto Luce acted as the productive glue for the efforts of the UNRAA, United Nations Relief Rehabilitation Administration. or the allied relief body for the liberated countries, including relief for, among other things, abandoned childhood (see the first issue of Settimana Incom dated 15 February 1946 in which UNRRA first arranged a visit to Pope Pius XII at St. Peter’s and then signed a treaty with the Italian government). We could say that, in Neorealist cinema, the premises for UNRRA’s actions are perfectly incarnated by the black GI in Paisà. The director of the film was a certain (and that’s exactly how he’s described in any sort of writing about the film: “a certain”…) Jack Salvatori: having worked at Paramount’s JoinVille studios fifteen years earlier, he was one of those returning Italian Americans who for an instant found America in Italy. One reason behind the interest in the film lays in several previously unseen images of Cinecittà as a barbed wired enclosed shantytown occupied by refugees, Mass at the camp, potato farming (like in a film by Kaurismaki), clothes washing in the fountains, the sale of bleach and charcoal, theater number five seen from above (a shot that would have struck the director of Intervista) since this joint property of wooden boxes and partitioned labyrinths cannot be filmed any other way. The other reason is the blatant copying, reworking, and indigestion replete with disgorging of many key scenes and many topical personalities from our best cinema of those years. Like Blasetti’s good-luck charm, Umberto Sacripante, the “everywhereness” of the character actor Aldo Silvani, and one of the most beautiful and most Neorealist girls, Carla Del Poggio in Lattuada. A super-American finale, “Re-marrying Comedy” style. Indoor scenes with Gino Cervi were filmed in the former Istituto Luce offices (Ernesto G. Laura).