Rome, Open City (1945)

Not Rated   |    |  Drama, Thriller, War


Rome, Open City (1945) Poster

During the Nazi occupation of Rome in 1944, the Resistance leader, Giorgio Manfredi, is chased by the Nazis as he seeks refuge and a way to escape.


8.1/10
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  • Aldo Fabrizi in Rome, Open City (1945)
  • Rome, Open City (1945)
  • Anna Magnani in Rome, Open City (1945)
  • Aldo Fabrizi and Anna Magnani in Rome, Open City (1945)
  • Anna Magnani in Rome, Open City (1945)
  • Aldo Fabrizi in Rome, Open City (1945)

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10 May 2006 | B24
7
| Nice Piece of Work for its Time
Like so many movies made during or shortly after WWII, this one reveals more about the circumstances of its creation than anything novel in the story line. Stock good guys and bad guys fill the screen, and the sombre tone of it all trumps any truly objective attempt to critique it according to some dispassionate set of standards. The fact that it was made at all and continues to be shown to appreciative audiences via cable television speaks for itself.

The strength of the production lies indeed in powerful individual scenes and some inspired acting. It captures attention from the beginning and holds the viewer rapt until the final minutes, even though the cinematic values are at best crude, requiring a forgiving eye. One identifies easily with its emotional force.

That said, its shortcomings are rather obvious. The Nazis are mainly not native speakers of German, with accents ranging from Dutch to Italian, and the one German officer who speaks ill of the "master race" is in his cups rather than a sober judge of the evil around him. The viewer would do well to remember that fascism in Italy was a homegrown phenomenon well before the Germans took over the show in 1944. Note how the Red Menace is thrown in the face of patriotic Italians as a ploy to gain their acquiescence to Nazi control. Elements of moral decadence among the evildoers likewise diminishes rather than enhances the proposition that they are rational perpetrators of that evil, bent on excusing their acts by twisting the truth to suit their own agenda.

Yet this was a contemporaneous Italian reflection on fresh history, and that cannot be faulted by 21st Century revisionists. It also restored a vital industry to Italy, and presaged many great films that followed it.

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Drama | Thriller | War

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