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Le Notti Bianche (Criterion Collection) (1957)

Cast: Marcello Mastroianni, Marcello Mastroianni, Maria Schell, more...
Director: Luchino Visconti, Luchino Visconti
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Studio: Criterion
Genre: Drama, Romance, Criterion Collection
Running Time: 101 min.
Languages: Italian
Subtitles: English
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Shy young Marcelo Mastroianni ambles across a bridge one evening, where he meets a strange but alluring girl (Maria Schell) who is awaiting her lover. This chance acquaintance is the first strand in a complex web entrapping Mastroianni in a dreamlike world of flashbacks, flashforwards and false visions. The girl, suspecting that her lover is staying at a nearby hotel, asks Mastroianni to deliver a note to the errant swain. He agrees--then destroys the note, setting the plot in motion. Updated from a 19th century story by Dostoyevsky, White Nights (Le Notti Bianche) was later refilmed by Robert Bresson as Four Nights of a Dreamer. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide


  • A collection of interviews, from 2003, with screenwriter Suso Cecchi D'Amico, film critics Laura Delli Colli and Lino Miccichè, cinematographer Giuseppe Rotunno, and costume designer Piero Tosi
  • New audio recording of Dostoyevsky's "White Nights," also downloadable as an MP3
  • Rare screen-test footage of Mastroianni and Schell
  • Original theatrical trailer

GreenCine Member Reviews

A simple tale told well by JKelly August 22, 2006 - 10:09 PM PDT
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
Set in what seems like a recovering postwar Italy, all interiors or grimy inner cityscapes, crisscrossed with "canals" but giving one the impression that people are living in a sewer, this film walks us through the simple tale of girl loves boy, boy goes away, second boy falls for girl. Marcello plays second. It's somewhat moving by itself, but even more so in what it evokes, if you have ever been at the losing end of a love triangle.

Ever wonder where the strange story in La Dolce Vita comes from? Just guessing, but to see Mastroianni chasing an unattainable blond through the streets of an Italian city..there must be a connection. Perhaps someone got the bright idea to simply take this stark contrast and put it in a bigger production piece. Please don't scoff. I wouldn't be supposing this way if someone else had written a review already.

I liked the stereotyped characters in the film. And it's fun to try to catch what people are saying in Italian. And the Beat-style dancing in the nightclub is entertaining. A bit of American influence there, as they dance to a strange song about one man living among thirteen women.

This Criterion dvd has a spoken track and an mp3 version of someone reading the entire Dostoevsy story.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.33)
36 Votes
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Cinema Italiana

Coming Soon from Criterion: Pietro Germi's Seduced and Abandoned and Francesco Rosi's Hands Over the City

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