Do the Right Thing
Randy Keehn | Williston, ND United States | 04/19/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I really wasn't too sure what to expect when I sat down to watch "General Della Rovere" this evening. The notes suggested that I would be watching a movie about a scoundrel. It didn't take long to find out that I was, in fact, watching a movie about a scoundrel. But oh what a scoundrel! There was an aspect to the preformance of Vittorio de Sica that oozed the suave, debonaire, coolness of a man who wanted others to know that he cares...so long as the money is paid up front. Our "hero" Bardone runs a sort of war-time Ponzi scheme with all the promises and down payments. It doesn't take long to realize that there's only one person Bardone really cares about. Heck, I even caught myself sensing an inner heart of gold just before another sucker gets taken. All along I found myself engrossed in this man, his victims and the others who played a role in his theatre.
Eventually, things take a turn in a variety of ways. At that point I had no idea what was going to be the outcome. As a favor to you, I'll let you have the same opportunity. I was more than satisfied with the ending although it wasn't exactly what I expected.
There is a professionalism to "General Della Rovere" that had it scoring high in my book. The directing, the interpositioning of newsreel footage and cinematic creation, the sense of uncertainty, the excellent preformances from top to bottom; all this and more was very impressive. Above all was the role of Vittorio de Sica whose mascarade had already fooled us enough times that we were on our own as to what to believe about him. I kept trying to figure out where I had seen the German Colonel before until I recalled that he was the camp commander in "The Great Escape". His performance in this film was equally compelling.
All during "General Della Rovere" I kept thinking of a recent film I had seen entitled "Bread, Love and Dreams". It was an older Italian movie that had been around long enough to have been dubbed in English. In viewing that film I was left with the choice of an expressionless Enlish or a demonstrative and incomprehenisble Italian. I chose the former and came away disappointed. I thought of that film because de Sica's delivery in "General Della Rovere" was in a class by itself. I watched the subtitles to keep track of the plot; I listened to the actors to keep track of the emotional impact. The dubbed de Sica in "Bread, Love and Dreams" had no emotional impact which is why I always try to view a foreign-language film in the original presentaion (with English subtitles). "General Della Rovere" is one of the best examples of why that makes such a difference.