Blu-Ray Review: I Vitelloni

Federico Fellini was one of the greatest directors and screenwriters ever to work in Italian cinema. Films such as 8 ½, La Dolce Vita, La Strada and The Night of Cabaria still regularly feature in ‘best-of’ lists and grace special screenings and retrospectives around the world. After beginning his career as an assistant and writer to the great Roberto Rossellini on Rome, Open City and Paisan, Fellini first made his mark on the international stage with his second full feature I Vitelloni.

Fausto Moretti (Franco Fabrizi) and his twenty-something friends live in a provincial town on the Adriatic coast. Along with dreamer Alberto (Alberto Sordi), singer Riccardo (Riccardo Fellini), writer Leopoldo (Leopoldo Trieste) and young Moraldo (Franco Interlenghi) they loaf around, unemployed and looking for fun and adventure in a boring town. Their idle existences are shattered when Sandra (Leonora Ruffo), Moraldo’s sister, discovers she’s pregnant and Fausto is persuaded to do the right thing.

Whilst not on the scale, budget or as expansive as some of his later work, I Vitelloni remains an entertaining and precise comedy drama about the ennui of life in post-war rural France. Moraldo is not alone in dreaming of absconding to the big city to escape the choices of no or low-skilled employment. The musical vivacity which is so prevalent in much of Fellini’s work finds its precursor here, as does the circus-like antics of the five young ‘bulls’. I Vitelloni is an skilful indication of where the Italian maestro was headed and a break with his early forays into neo-realism.

Special Features:

  • Unique, new, enlightening audio Commentary by Kat Ellinger (Diabolique)
  • Exclusive video essay from Author, Critic and Oxford Professor Guido Bonsaver: “DAZZLING SPIRIT”
  • New HD restoration and re-grading with additional further restoration uniquely for CultFilms
  • New improved English subtitles

I Vitelloni is released on dual edition Blu-ray and DVD, and digital platforms, by Cult Films on 27 August.

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