Umberto D. (1952)

umberto d poster 1952 movie
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 10/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great heartfelt acting, good looking


Movie Info

Movie Name:  Umberto D.

Studio:  Dear Film/Rizzoli Film/Produzione Films Vittorio De Sica

Genre(s):  Drama

Release Date(s):  January 10, 1952 (Festival de Punta del Este)/January 20, 1952 (Italy)/November 7, 1955 (US)

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

umberto d pound scene flike carlo battisti

I don’t care what happens to Umberto…protect Flike at all costs!!!

Pensioner Umberto Domenico Ferrari (Carlo Battisti) and his little dog Flike are one step away from living on the street.  With his landlord Antonio Belloni (Lina Gennari) trying to evict him and not enough money coming in, Umberto only ally seems to be a young maid named Maria (Maria-Pia Casilio) who is struggling with her own problems.  With an eviction deadline looming, Umberto might not be able to make the payments and keep his head afloat.

Directed by Vittorio De Sica, Umberto D. is an Italian drama.  The movie was released to mixed reviews and box office returns, but it is now considered a classic.  The film received Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay, and the Criterion Collection released a remastered version of the film (Criterion #201).

I have been working my way through many of the Criterion just picking them up and searching them when I pick up streaming services.  HBO has always had a solid group of Criterion Films, and Umberto D. is one that shouldn’t be missed.

umberto d maid maria pia casilio pregnant

Somehow, I don’t think this relationship is going to work…

It is easy to see parallels between the film, and Vittorio De Sica’s other classic The Bicycle Thieves.  With an Italy in disarray and people struggling for money and work, Umberto is a sad character.  He is on the verge of so much…poverty, despair, and suicide.  He is only anchored by his dog, but even then he is trying to give Flike away so he can fade away…either by his own hand or withered by sadness.

Both Carlo Battisti and Maria-Pia Casilio were new actors, but they nail their sensitivity.  Battisti feels real as Umberto and while Casilio is a little less comfortable as Maria, she still brings heart and emotion.  While the story of Umberto plays out (for the most part), Maria’s story is generally left open.  You don’t know if she moves on, has her child, gets married, or anything…but her role is sensitive enough that you hope she makes it.

umberto d flike begging dog

It’s tough on the streets for a dog…

Although he’s not a human, Flike is an important part of Umberto D.  In some ways he’s the heart of the film.  The dog actor is quite strong and scene stealer, but Umberto’s relationship with his little dog gives the movie real feeling and depth (it feels a lot like the dog-man relationship in The Artist).  You don’t want anything to happen to Umberto for Flike, but you definitely don’t want anything to happen to Flike.

Umberto D. is a classic.  It is a sad tale about a person with hope and a lot of life left him in him pushed to the wayside.  Generally Italy is made to be beautiful and luxurious and though the streets don’t match the United States, this Italy feels colder and crueler.  Despite all that happens, Umberto is about to put on a happy face for his friend…and I hope he endures.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response