The Bicycle Thief

on December 13, 1949 by BOXOFFICE Staff
Still another realistic and moving Italian-language feature which has already been acclaimed as the outstanding foreign film of the year. Less dramatic than either "Open City" or "Shoe-Shine," recent memorable Italian pictures, the story is simple and tremendously effective and the production is a masterpiece of its kind. The publicity attendant on its numerous awards, such as the National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics, will insure strong grosses in art houses, despite the absence of familiar foreign names. It can also play many downtown houses in key cities and in neighborhoods where Italians predominate. Under the superb direction of Vittorio DeSica, who also directed "Shoe-Shine," two film newcomers, Lamberto Maggiorani, as an unfortunate bill poster, and Enzo Staiola, as a completely natural and appealing youngster, give notable performances.

In postwar Italy, Lamberto Maggiorani, out of work for many months, is offered a job pasting up posters if he can use a bicycle. In order to get the bicycle out of hock, his wife is forced to pawn her wedding clothes and bedsheets. The first day on the new job, his bicycle is stolen and the police advise him to try and find it himself. With his seven-year-old son, Enzo Stailoa, Maggiorani goes into the black market section but they find no trace of the bicycle. As night nears, Maggiorani spots the thief and, after a chase, corners him. But a search of the thief's home reveals no bicycle so the crowd starts to attack Maggiorani. He and his son then return to their poor home.

The Finest Foreign Film in a Decade... Acclaimed by Film Critics and the Public Alike... A Cowardly Thief Stole the Very Bread Out of Their Mouths... A Brilliant and Unforgettable Story of Postwar Italy. Mayer-Burstyn 89 minutes

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