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Open City (Roma, citta aperta) (1945) - B&W - 100 min

Working behind barred door and cellars, a group of Italians created this movie about the horrors of the Nazi occupation in Rome during WWII. They had volunteers for actors, often using equipment stolen from Germans, with scraps of film, no studio lights, intermittent electricity - this was the first film released after the Allies freed Rome.

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Open City (Roma, citta aperta)
Directed by - Roberto Rossellini

(1945) - B&W - 100 min
The film stars Aldo Fabrizi as Don Pietro Pellegrini and Anna Magnani as Pina. The film won the Grand Prize of the Festival during the 1946 Cannes Film Festival. Federico Fellini and Sergio Amidei were nominated for an Oscar, Best Writing, Screenplay in 1947. (The award went to Robert E. Sherwood for The Best Years of our Lives, another great film about the horrors of World War Two). Other awards included Best Foreign Language Film in 1946 by the New York Critics Circle Awards and Anna Magnani recieved Best Actress honors from the National Board of Review. (Magnani would go on to win Best Actress Oscar for Tennesee Williams' The Rose Tatoo in 1955. Burt Lancaster was her co-star in that movie). Also of note - Ingrid Bergman married Director Roberto Rossellini in 1950 after working again with Rossellini on his most famous film, Stromboli in 1949, leaving her husband Dr. Peter Lindstrom and daughter Pia. Bergman is of course best known for her role as Elsa in Casablanca with Humphrey Bogart. Bergman's marriage to Rossellini produced a reknowned actress - the lovely Isabella Rossellini, before divorcing in 1957.

Part one
Intro, B&W, title screens, credits etc. The film opens with scrolling text, which explains that this was the first movie from Italy after WWII, made with volunteers, little or no electricity, makeshift lighting, and used scraps of film - depicting the hardships suffered by the citizens of Rome during the Nazi occupation. We meet the star of the movie, Aldo Fabrizi as Don Pietro Pellegrini, who is working to help undermine the Nazi regime (in sharp contrast to the current release Amen, which tries to rewrite history by suggesting that the Catholic church was blind to the Nazi atrocities). Don Pietro is clearly risking his life to do what he can to help the people of Rome, by working with the underground. We also meet Pina, played beautifully by Anna Magnani, as a sympathetic character trying to survive with her child, Marcello in difficult times. She befriends Francesco, who is a leader of the underground movement.

Aldo Fabrizi as Don Pietro Pelligrini, the kindly priest secretly working for the underground.

Marcello Pagliero as Giorgio, the brave leader who suffers through the Gestapo torture, but doesn't rat out his cohorts.

Part two
Don Pietro is questioned by a Nazi, who isn't a Nazi at all - just a poor man caught up in war, trying to escape. Meanwhile, Don Peitro is asked to carry some books, which aren't books at all - the pages are filled with counterfeit money, to help the underground's cause. Pina tags along and offers to carry the books, not knowing of their contents. We also see where Pina is living - a small apartment jam packed with several families, all trying to survive.

Vito Annichiarico is also great as Marcello, Pina's son. He is not quite as innocent as this picture - as he is secretly working for the underground.

Part three
The Major Bergman, theNazi officer gets some information on the underground and tries to round up their leaders. Meanwhile, young children are working as spies and saboteurs, risking their lives for the resistence efforts. Pina is killed, and a Marina's betrayal is in the works.

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Open City (Roma, citta aperta)
Directed by - Roberto Rossellini

Starring - Aldo Fabrizi as Don Pietro Pelligrini, Anna Magnani as Pina, Francesco Grandjacquet as Francesco, Marcello Pagliero as Luigi Ferrari, a.k.a. Giorgio Manfredi, Harry Feist as Major Bergman, Vito Annichiarico Marcello, Pina's kid, Giovanna Galletti as Ingrid, Maria Michi as Marini Mari, Nando Bruno as Agostino,

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Anna Magnani is awesome as Pina.

Part four
This clips opens in the church during Mass. Meanwhile, leaders of the underground are hiding out in the alcoves, trying to avoid discovery. But the young woman Marina betrays her friends and tells the Nazis where they can be found. The resistence leaders and some underlings are arrested by the Nazis, including Don Pietro - where they are brought in for questioning by the Gestapo.

Maria Michi as the betrayer of her underground friends, Marina Mari

Part five
The questioning is not pretty - but the gore and horror of the Gestapo torture is left to your imagination (unlike most films today which feel compelled to provide gory details, the imagination still proves to be more menacing). Don Pietro prays for Giorgio, asking God to help the man endure the torture, and not talk, thereby giving up others to suffering and death. The children try to influence the soldiers at Don Pietro's date with the firing squad. Watch the gripping conclusion of this remarkable film - it's a classic for good reason.

Giovanna Galletti as the diabolical Ingrid, with the evil one, Major Bergman, played by Harry Feist

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Francesco, played by Francesco Grandjacquet with his lover, Pina (Anna Magnani)

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