Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Blind Spot: Journey to Italy (1954)

Rossellini's film is a little overrated.

Directed by Roberto Rossellini
Produced by Adolfo Fossataro
Written by Vitaliano Brancati & Roberto Rossellini (from Colette’s novel)
Starring Ingrid Bergman, George Sanders and Maria Mauban

Plot Summary: A couple faces their marital problems when family business brings them to Naples, Italy.

Significance: As one of Rossellini’s most notable works, the film tied for #41 in the 2012 Sight and Sound critics poll, and it was recently recognized as one of the best rediscoveries by the Boston Society of Film Critics in 2013. The film also earned Ingrid Bergman the international Best Actress prize at the the Bambi Awards for 1954.

Thoughts: Rossellini’s celebrated film is a fine little drama, though its lofty reputation is somewhat lost on me. Locales are used to great effect in the story, which otherwise finds the melodrama a bit flat at times. Granted, the film never falters stylistically, and it’s so limited in terms of story that it doesn’t really put a foot wrong. But Sanders generally feels out of place in his role, while Bergman gives a lovely performance. It all feels a bit too underdeveloped, yet there seems to be a great movie in there somewhere. Overall, the film is a well-made piece of cinema that never feels fully realized.

Rating: B

Note: This post is late, but I did watch the film last month.

This is the ninth film in my 2016 Blind Spot Series, as first started by Ryan McNeil.


  1. MY GOD, what have you done?!?!?

    This movie is amazing (um, it made my Top 100) and Bergman is...like...a treasure (and most likely my Lead Actress winner in 1954). NO, Josh!!!

    1. Sorry, buddy. I WANTED to love this one. :/

  2. I didn't think this was a lost classic either when I finally caught up with it. Ingrid was her usual wonderful self and I think I liked Sanders better than you, this was a better teaming for them than Rage in Heaven had been a decade before, but it was missing a passion that could have made it more compelling.

    I've seen all the films she made with Rossellini-they're virtually the only films of his I've seen outside Open City-and I can't say I'm overly impressed with his directing style. Ingrid was terrific in all of them, even the wretched Stomboli, but I'm not sure how much of that was his influence since she was such a strong talent I don't think I've ever seen her give a bad performance. Of their films together I preferred Fear to this.

    1. Yeah, I agree on the missing passion. I've only seen Paisan, Journey to Italy, and Rome, Open City, but I wouldn't rave about his talents as a director either. The films I've seen are good, though I haven't seen anything that would put him at the forefront of Italian cinema.

  3. A film that has been praised to the heavens and which didn't live up to the hype for me either. Strong dialogue, good performance by Ingrid Bergman, and nice locations, but to me an average, forgettable story.

    1. Yeah, this one is fading fast for me. Though, I might revisit it in a few years to see if I feel differently.