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:: La Strada

This 1953 Italian movie won Federico Fellini the first of his four Best Foreign Picture Academy Awards. It was well deserved - this is a wonderful piece of filmmaking. And its cosmopolitan cast - one actor from Mexico (Anthony Quinn), one from the USA (Richard Basehart) and one Italian (Giulietta Masina) created a wonderful synergy. Their portrayals of the tragic trio who make up this tale of cruel jealously and suffering and thwarted love, could not have been bettered. Their acting is simply superb.

Anthony Quinn is excellent as Zampano, a circus strongman, who picks up the simple, naive village-girl Gelsomina to act as his assistant, cook, bed-warmer, and everything else. She has no choice. She is sold to Zampano by her mother. And she lacks the will or free spirit to break from a brutal relationship. This is the sort of life she knew, and will always know.

Fellini chose his wife Giuletta Masina to play Gelsomina, and her portrayal is one of the outstanding screen characterisations. The third member of the trio is the young, handsome Baseheart. He is a vulnerable high-wire artist known simply as The Fool. His zest for life, humour and bravado wins the quiet love of Gelsomina - and the fury of Zampano.

La Strada is brilliant and compelling viewing. The memory of the character of Gelsomina, the quiet, mouse-like little animal who is almost - but not quite - a woman, will never leave you. Giuletta Masina's extraordinary acting is at the core of this movie - it's a performance which absolutely dominates the screen.

DVD Extras

- The Federico Fellini 'autobiography' runs for 55 minutes, and is a scrapbook of interviews done over the years centred around four key movies in his career - La Strada, La Dolce Vita, Satyricon and Juliette of the Spirits

- The Giulietta Masina feature, 'Power of a Smile', comprises interviews done over three decades.

- Audio Commentary by Paul Harris

- Original American trailer for the movie