General Della Rovere
(Il Generale della Rovere)

Screening on Film
Directed by Roberto Rossellini.
With Vittorio De Sica, Sandra Milo, Hannes Messemer.
Italy, 1959, 16mm, black & white, 130 min.
Italian with English subtitles.

B is for Behind Bars

In one of Rossellini’s overlooked masterpieces, Vittorio De Sica stars as Emanuele Bartone, a petty con artist coerced by the Germans into posing as a Resistance fighter in order to infiltrate and expose the leaders of the underground. As the morally corrupt Bartone assumes his new persona and enacts the leader’s more principled characteristics, he eventually becomes inspired to join his fellow countrymen in the fight against the Nazis. Considered to be Rossellini’s strongest post-Bergman work, the film resonated with audiences for its explorations of war and resistance as well as its theme of redemption.

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Cinema A–Z: Treasures from the Harvard Film Archive