Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.
Original title: Stazione Termini
Alternate title: Station Terminus
Italy/USA, 1953. Produzione Films Vittorio De Sica, Produzioni De Sica, Selznick Releasing Organization. Screenplay by Cesare Zavattini, Giorgio Prosperi, Luigi Chiarini, dialogue by Truman Capote, based on a story by Cesare Zavattini. Cinematography by G.R. Aldo. Produced by Vittorio De Sica. Music by Alessandro Cicognini. Production Design by Virgilio Marchi. Costume Design by Christian Dior. Film Editing by Eraldo Da Roma.
Displeased with the results of his collaboration with de Sica, producer David O. Selznick would later cut this film down to 60 minutes (from the original 90) and release it in North America as Indiscretion of an American Wife. The original version is not that different or much better than the more famous cut, focusing on the last few hours between a wealthy American woman (Jennifer Jones) parting from her handsome Italian boyfriend (Montgomery Clift) before returning to her husband and daughter. The chemistry between the leads is minimal despite a lot of hot and heavy kissing scenes (and a delicious sequence where they presumably have sex in a railroad car before getting arrested for indecency), but what really makes it fizzle is de Sica’s trying to have it both ways stylistically. On the hand it seems to be nosing its thumb at Hollywood glamour and trying to take an Italian neorealist look at human affairs, the ugly moments in even the most passionate relationships, but at the same time it’s a dazzlingly shot melodrama with plenty of glamorous, gooey romance between the leads and a gown by Dior. It’s hard to say if it’s soft Rossellini or bad Douglas Sirk but either way it does not really work, and at least the cut version gets rid of a lot of unnecessary extra dialogue and maintains the climax of the best sequence (their arrest). Check out Love In The City for a group of filmmakers reacting to Rome being presented this way in Hollywood movies.
The Criterion Collection: #202
Academy Award Nomination: Best Costume Design-BW
Cannes Film Festival: In Competition