The most important thing is to enjoy your life - to be happy - it's all that matters.
- Audrey Hepburn

Umberto D

Moderators: Sue Sue Applegate, movieman1957, moira finnie, Lzcutter

User avatar
charliechaplinfan
Posts: 9087
Joined: January 15th, 2008, 9:49 am

Umberto D

Postby charliechaplinfan » July 15th, 2011, 2:07 pm

I watched this this afternoon, I enjoyed it but for me De Sica had wrung my emotions a bit too much. Neorealistic film is trying to highlight social problems of the day and no doubt the plight of the pensioners needed highlighting. Why do I feel like comparing him to Chaplin for the way he hangs on our emotions, the Kid being torn out of Chaplin's arms and Filke being left in the park, I've wept at both. I wonder if a little less, in terms of heartwringing would perhaps highlight more seriously the plight and the social conditions in Italy at the time? Does anyone else have an opinion on this movie? Has anyone else wept at it like me?

Here's the review I left on another thread. I've watched most of De Sica's films from this period and I respect them and enjoy them, if that is the right word.

I've had a harrowing time today, alone, just before the kids break up from school, I decided to have a film fest and decided it was time to watch Umberto D. I've put off watching Umberto D for a couple of years, I love De Sica's Neo Realistic period but it's pleasure and pain, like eating a lovely icecream but having sensitive teeth. Admittedly with Umberto D I had to take a couple of breaks, I found Bicycle Thieves harrowing and compelling, so this replacing the child with a dog was no less an ordeal. It is acted with such dignity by Carlo Battista and dignity by Maria Pia Casilio, each subject to the whims of a tyranical landlady. Umberto's problems are twofold, his pension is pitiful, he's see at first on a protest march, more than half his pension goes on his rent, he's in arrears and the landlady is wanting to throw him out, which she succeeds in doing later by knocking down one of his walls in his room. He goes through a series of undignified situations, selling his watch and two prized books and desperately trying to beg. His one joy in his joyless existence his Flike, his dog. When he is taken to hospital (as much for free lodgings) he discovers the landlady has let Filke run outside and he's been lost since. The coty pound, I turned it off and had to come back to it, he searches in vain for Filke, looking in all the cages, and trucks coming in laden with dogs, he frantically searches the truckload of dogs being taken to the gas chamber. Another seen a poor man inside is trying to rescue his dog but hasn't got the money to release it, it will be gassed. Things take a turn for the worst, Umberto's room is destroyed, he decides to take his life, but seeing Filke on the bad stops him. He departs early the next morning with Filke and takes him to a boarding house for dogs wanting to leave him in good hands but the proprietors are interested only in the money and not the dogs welfare. The film climaxes in the park, Umberto tries to give Filke away to a little girl, failing that he leaves him but the little dog faithfully follows his master, desperate, Umberto picks him up, clinging to him and stands by the railway track waiting for the oncoming train, but Filke wriggles free causing Umberto not to commit suicide. Filke runs off, seemingly deserting Umberto, who has to pull out all his tricks to convince Filke to come back to him. Here the film ends. I was blubbing so much in the last ten minutes, shouting to the TV, if any of the family had come in they'd have thought something really serious had gone on.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

User avatar
Mr. Arkadin
Posts: 2657
Joined: April 14th, 2007, 3:00 pm

Re: Umberto D

Postby Mr. Arkadin » July 15th, 2011, 5:00 pm

When we had to name 25 favorite films for a contest some years ago, Umberto D. was on my list and continues to be a treasure to me, because it speaks volumes about the dignity of man vs. his own perception.

Filke is not a heartstring device, but an example of honest humanity, whether showing love to Umberto when society has cast him aside, or protecting his own life from this same man who would extinguish it. Like Umberto, George Bailey, or any number of characters, we often forget the blessings we have been given and view our lives as unimportant. Umberto might be monetarily poor and without position, but the simple perspective of a dog revives his crushed spirit and brings him to a new level of understanding that true worth and value is not how others see you, or even what you might think about yourself.

User avatar
charliechaplinfan
Posts: 9087
Joined: January 15th, 2008, 9:49 am

Re: Umberto D

Postby charliechaplinfan » July 16th, 2011, 5:40 am

I've had more time to ponder this film, it's beautifully shot, I'm not sure I added that.

For me animals are powerful devices in films, I can watch tragic love stories, war films with needless killings and be dry eyed but Animal Farm, Of Mice and Men and Umberto D have me in tears. I've asked myself why I should be so tearful at the story of one man and his dog yet watch, for example Rome Open City without shedding a tear, the tragedy of war is surely worse than one man and his dog.

However, I've thought again about the ending, I was unsure as to whether Flike had brought Umberto completely out of his suicidal tendency but thinking about it some more I think he had. I think Umberto still had his money but he left his suitcase on the bench, all he had left was Flike. The landlady was a great part of his indignity and one can only hope that he finds a better place to stay.

Another part of the drama which is difficult to watch is that he is reduced to trying to sell things to his friends, you can see when he meets them later they are trying to be polite but Umberto has an air of carrying his poverty and problems about with him that make his an unwelcome companion.

Maria's plight mirrors Umberto's, she is soon to lose her employment and gain a child, asource of infinite joy, like Flike but another mouth to feed and soul to care for.

I can tell why you would rate this film so highly, it's a great piece of film making and I'm glad I bought it and I will watch it again, I'll just remember not to apply mascara or else I'll look like a panda afterwards :)
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

kingrat
Posts: 2207
Joined: August 20th, 2009, 2:46 pm

Re: Umberto D

Postby kingrat » July 16th, 2011, 12:35 pm

I also love this film, and couldn't agree more about not shedding a tear through Open City, but being strongly affected by Umberto D.

User avatar
Mr. Arkadin
Posts: 2657
Joined: April 14th, 2007, 3:00 pm

Re: Umberto D

Postby Mr. Arkadin » July 16th, 2011, 2:25 pm

charliechaplinfan wrote:For me animals are powerful devices in films, I can watch tragic love stories, war films with needless killings and be dry eyed but Animal Farm, Of Mice and Men and Umberto D have me in tears. I've asked myself why I should be so tearful at the story of one man and his dog yet watch, for example Rome Open City without shedding a tear, the tragedy of war is surely worse than one man and his dog.


Animals and children are symbols of innocence (figuratively and literally) and it is only natural to be moved by them. While both films affect me deeply (and yes, bring me to tears), Don Pietro dies for the future of his young parishioners, while Flike is in peril throughout the film. The closest we get to this in Rome, Open City is probably the crippled boy Agostino, who organizes the children for sabotage.

charliechaplinfan wrote:I was unsure as to whether Flike had brought Umberto completely out of his suicidal tendency but thinking about it some more I think he had.)


You are correct. Flike loves life and the concept of suicide is alien to him (which is why he protects himself by running away). Just as Umberto saves Flike from the gas chamber, he in turn, rescues Umberto from death by teaching him that life is a gift--not a burden.
Last edited by Mr. Arkadin on July 16th, 2011, 3:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
charliechaplinfan
Posts: 9087
Joined: January 15th, 2008, 9:49 am

Re: Umberto D

Postby charliechaplinfan » July 16th, 2011, 2:51 pm

Bless Flike, apparently he was played by two dogs and the two key actors had never acted on film before. I think the film has enormous dignity, perhaps the casting of unknown's helped this.

The one scene that went to far to me was the dogs being wheeled into the gas chamber, I knew it was going to happen, I didn't need to see them and their plight seems terrible, as it does in life but I had to pull myself from that, telling myself it wasn't a film about the plight of dogs in general.

Now I feel the need to watch Bicycle Thieves again, no doubt to more tears.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin


Return to “Foreign Films”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 14 guests