What is it about these Italian pictures which makes the impression they create so overwhelming? First, their tremendous actuality, second, their honesty, and third, their passionate pleading for what we have come to term the humane values. The uses of adversity are once again demonstrated: lack of money has made it necessary to shoot on real locations, against backgrounds which themselves forbid the phoney and the fake. But it is chiefly the impulse of generous and uncompromising emotion which gives to Sciuscia, as to the [Roberto] Rossellini films, a force unknown to the Warner heavy…. [The] setting of Sciuscia is contemporary, and … it has no respect for the old lies, the safe conventions. It is the story of two shoeshine boys loose in "liberated" Rome—Rome liberated not only from Fascism but also from order and security. It is the boys' highest ambition to own a horse of their own; in contriving to get hold of enough money, they become party, all but innocently, to a black market deal. They are caught by the police and, since they refuse to implicate their friends, sent to prison as juvenile delinquents.
The atmosphere of the exhausted, disintegrated city is superbly conveyed; the rough, newsreel quality of [the] photography, the sharp cutting, the abrupt naturalism of the acting persuade us that we are watching scenes as they actually take place, people as they actually are. This in itself is enough to make...
(The entire section is 455 words.)