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Miracle in Milan

170650

Branduani Gianni, Francesco Golisano, Paolo Stoppa, Emma Gramatica, Guglielmo Barnabo, Brunella Bovo

Vitorrio De Sica's follow-up to 'Bicycle Thieves' won the Best Film Award at Cannes in 1951. Its fairy tale-like story concerns the plight of the poor in post-WWII Italy. A group of down-and-outs who when threatened...

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Vitorrio De Sica's follow-up to 'Bicycle Thieves' won the Best Film Award at Cannes in 1951. Its fairy tale-like story concerns the plight of the poor in post-WWII Italy. A group of down-and-outs who when threatened with eviction by developers escape manage to angelic intervention, thanks to a magic dove given to Toto, a young orphan, by a fairy. The dove allows Toto to grant the beggars their wishes.
  • Featuring Branduani Gianni, Francesco Golisano, Paolo Stoppa, Emma Gramatica, Guglielmo Barnabo, Brunella Bovo
  • Directors Vittorio De Sica
  • Other Cast Aldo Graziati, Vittorio De Sica, Vittorio De Sica, Cesare Zavattini
  • Running time 95 minutes
  • Certification PG
  • Languages Italian
  • Region B
  • Subtitles Yes
  • Year 1951
  • Release Date 25/05/2015
  • Number of Discs 2
  • Colour B/W
  • Label Arrow Films
  • Country of Origin Italy
  • Based on The story 'Toto Il Buono' by Cesare Zavattini
  • Subtitle Languages English
  • Original Language Italian

Miracle in Milan has always puzzled the critics. Written and directed by the high priests of Italian neo-realism, Cesare Zavattini and Vittorio De Sica, it is a Frank Capra style comedy, with a totally fantastic ending and not much realism along the way.

Shot mainly on a specially constructed set on the outskirts of Milan, with a largely professional cast and abundant special effects under the direction of American SFX specialist Ned Mann, it tells an implausible story about a teenage orphan whose sheer goodness animates the denizens of a shantytown to resist a series of attempts to evict them from their poverty-stricken paradise.

When oil is discovered underground, the previously amiable property developers turn tough and eviction proceeds, but the inhabitants, defeated in this world, escape to a better one.

Can this charming fable possibly be realism, the critics asked? The answer, funnily enough is yes. It is realism, but in the vein of what we have since learnt to call magic realism, which was alive and well in Zavattini's scripts and stories from the 1930s onwards.

Miracle in Milan deceived nobody. Unlike a Capra film, where you are supposed to believe that big business will reform itself, Miracle in Milan is explicit. A delightful dream is just that, a dream.

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