Classic Movie Review:Journey to Italy (1954)

Title: Journey to Italy
Release Date: September 7, 1954
Director: Roberto Rossellini
Production Company: Italiafilm | Junior | Sveva | Société Générale de Cinématographie (S.G.C.)

Katherine (Ingrid Bergman) and Alex (George Sanders, who kind of reminds me of Jim Backus) are a couple from England who drive to the Naples region of Italy (no explanation of how they got their car across the Channel) to sell a villa they recently inherited from an Uncle Homer.  Katherine is more engaged in seeing the local sights while the workaholic Alex just wants to get it over with, until he starts flirting with a local woman and takes a side trip to Capri with her.

Of the course of the film, it is revealed that Katherine and Alex’s marriage is as dead as the couple preserved in the ash at Pompeii, and like the cracks of Vesuvius the steam of resentment is rising. Yes, Rossellini does a great job of working in the local attractions as metaphors.  Although this film is directed by an Italian and set in Italy, the dialogue is in English.  Apparently, Rossellini gave the actors their lines only shortly before filming a scene with no time to rehearse.  It explains the halting, hesitant delivery but I think it has the opposite effect than Rossellini hoped as everyone just looks unprepared.

Nevertheless, this is a good film, beautifully shot and an honest depiction of the dissolution of a marriage.

Rating: ***