Fellini's first solo directorial effort (after co-helming 'Variety Lights') is partially written by director Michelangelo Antonioni! The story is about a young small-town couple vacationing on their honeymoon in Rome. The young bride, who is infatuated with 'The White Sheik' ( an actor who plays this character), sneaks off to find him and give him a present of a drawing she had made of him. The post-nuptial romance has soon evaporated as she is unable to return from the remote film shooting location she chose to attend. Truths are revealed about "The White Sheik" and the young bride is both embarrassed and distraught about returning to her new husband who had meticulously organized every minute of their honeymoon.
Co-incidentally two major stars of the film Alberto Sordi and Leopoldo Trieste have recently passed away. Sordi was considered an icon of Italian film and I believe this DVD will be the first with a film starring him. "The White Sheik" is an adept and simple film that shows glimmers of the genius of future Fellini efforts including 'Nights of Cabiria', 'La Strada' and 'Juliet of the Spirits'. It may only be collectable to his die-hard fans but regardless this is a worthwhile viewing.
NOTE: This film is the introduction of Masina as Cabiria.
Studio: Home Vision Entertainment / Criterion
Theatrical Release Date: Sept. 6th, 2952 (Venice Film Festival)
Full Screen (Standard) - 1.33:1
• Black & White
• New digital transfer with restored picture and sound
• New video interviews with actors Brunella Bovo and Leopoldo Trieste, and Fellini friend Moraldo Rossi in a short film called "Remembrances" - 4:3- color- 31:15
• Essay by critic Jonathan Rosenbaum and an excerpt from the biography "I, Fellini" - 4 pages of an 8 page insert
It is obvious to se that this film has been restored, but I will also assume that the print it was taken from was not in the best of shape. The film IS over 50 years old. There is visible damage and pops and hisses on the soundtrack. At times the image quality looks like it is of Criterion "Rebecca" levels, but it is never consistent showing a little excessive grain and damage at times. I would say this DVD slightly better than the Criterion's "Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne" (Robert Bresson's first film). Perhaps not a must have except for true cinema-philes. The Extras include interviews with actors Brunella Bovo and Leopoldo Trieste, and Moraldo Rossi a friend of Fellini in a short film called "Remembrances. It is a nice addition. No one else but Criterion would have brought this film to DVD with this quality. out of Gary W. Tooze