The White Sheik (1952)

This review is of the new 4K Restoration and translation by Rialto Pictures as part of the Fellini Centennial.

This splendid 1952 farce by Federico Fellini (his first solo outing as a director) is a lively satire on contemporary Italian society and pop culture. Centering on a newlywed couple whose true love falls outside the boundaries of matrimony (for the wife, it’s her idolization of the eponymous photo-comic star; for the husband, it’s his aristocratic family and class), The White Sheik playfully lampoons institutional worship and fandom, be they in the entertainment industry, class, or religion.  Though The White Sheik was commercially unsuccessful in its initial Italy and dwarfed in popularity by Fellini’s later outings, the director’s giddy enthusiasm for the material (originally conceived by Michelangelo Antonioni) and Nino Rota’s carnivalesque score make it an absolute delight.

3 thoughts on “The White Sheik (1952)

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  1. I really, really need to get into Fellini’s stuff. I’ve been busy going thru other directors stuff, I don’t think I’ve seen a single film by him, unless Umberto D was by him, or 8 1/2, but I watched those many moons ago

    1. Fellini did 8 1/2 (Vittorio De Sica did Umberto), but admittedly I’ve actually not seen as many Fellini movies as I should. Which is fortunate because in commemoration with his 100th birthday there’s going to be plenty of repertory screenings and new restorations coming out.

      1. Oooooo. I like the sound of that!!! There is an Italian film festival here and last year they screened 1900 and one other by Bertolucci(sp). A few years ago they screened Le Grande Illusion! Given what you said I bet they will show at least two of his films, and I’ll be there for both!! I too need to see more Italian film, it is a massive gap for me.

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