Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
Original title: Lo Sceicco Bianco
Italy, 1952. OFI, P.D.C.. Story by Michelangelo Antonioni, Federico Fellini, Tullio Pinelli, Screenplay by Federico Fellini, Tullio Pinelli, Ennio Flaiano. Cinematography by Arturo Gallea. Produced by Luigi Rovere. Music by Nino Rota. Production Design by Raffaello Tolfo. Film Editing by Rolando Benedetti.
Fellini’s first film as sole director (he had co-directed Variety Lights with Alberto Lattuada two years earlier) was this charming comedy. A young girl from the provinces watches films starring a Valentino-like superstar who plays ‘The White Sheik’, and she dreams of being with him. The opportunity of a lifetime presents itself when she visits Rome for her honeymoon and after only two days of marriage sneaks away to visit the set of her idol’s latest film. Charming and frothy, it doesn’t hit the striking artistic chords that the great master’s later films would, but it’s delightful and shows off the kind of fantasy mixed with reality that audiences would later come to label as ‘Fellini-esque’. Giulietta Masina appears in a tiny but memorable role as a Roman prostitute named ‘Cabiria’; the character would get her own film five years later in an unforgettable masterpiece.