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The White Sheik

Released Sep 6, 1952 1h 23m Comedy Adventure List
100% Tomatometer 15 Reviews 75% Audience Score 2,500+ Ratings In Italy, small-town newlyweds Wanda (Brunella Bovo) and Ivan Cavalli (Leopoldo Trieste) embark on their honeymoon in the big city of Rome. Ivan dutifully wants to keep appointments with family and church, but Wanda is only interested in meeting her favorite photo-strip star known as "The White Sheik" (Alberto Sordi). While Wanda impetuously sneaks away to locate the object of her affections, disconsolate Ivan tries his hardest to keep up appearances with the couple's relatives. Read More Read Less

Critics Reviews

View All (15) Critics Reviews
Amy Nicholson FilmWeek (KPCC - NPR Los Angeles) Possibly [Federico Fellini's] sweetest, mildest, lightest, and most charming screwball comedy. Jan 21, 2020 Full Review Kenneth Turan Los Angeles Times Inventively comic with melancholy notes around the edges, "The White Sheik" has, in common with all Fellini's films, more going on than you may at first anticipate. Jan 17, 2020 Full Review Don Druker Chicago Reader A funny, sardonic, and clever satire on popular heroes and ordinary people's illusions. Jul 31, 2007 Full Review Yasser Medina Cinefilia "The White Sheik" is a charming and quite satirical comedy that, in my opinion, reflects Fellini's early concerns that would later fully define his cinema. [Full review in Spanish] Rated: 7/10 Jun 26, 2021 Full Review Neely Swanson Easy Reader (California) The White Sheik is definitely worth seeing. It's not classic Fellini but it shows you how he arrived there and arrive there he did with a vengeance. Jan 17, 2020 Full Review Emanuel Levy EmanuelLevy.Com Fellini's solo directing debut, a charming fable about a newlywed couple, shows themes and characters that will reappear in his future work, not to mention the significance of wife actress Masina. Rated: A- Feb 5, 2012 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (76) audience reviews
Audience Member "The White Sheik" offers a refreshingly light and comic take on a young couple's turmoil as their dreams and earthly duties conflict, leading them on harried separate journeys through Rome as they come to terms with the true nature of their innermost feelings. There is a sweetness here; a sentimental innocence that may even catch the unsuspecting viewer off-guard. As an early work of Fellini, "The White Sheik" offers subtle intimations of the richness and imagination which would eventually come to characterized his greatest works, including a boisterous depiction of Italian culture, buoyant storytelling, and momentary infusions of breathtaking fantasy. It can therefore be noted that despite "The White Sheik's" generally rudimentary qualities, it is still worth a view to anyone wishing to meditate on the roots of this greatest of Italian filmmakers. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/14/23 Full Review Fra B Never forget that on top of everything that makes Fellini a genius there's brilliant comedy. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 04/06/22 Full Review scott s For Fellini's first feature, it is a pretty basic film, but what makes this film so special is to see the origin of the director's style and themes we see play out in all of his other films. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review Audience Member Thematically, the film is on-point, insomuch as it deals with notions of showmanship as escapism from one's reality. It is the tale of vacationing newlyweds separated when the bride (Brunella Bovo) runs off to meet the true love of her life, the White Sheik- a romance novel hero brought to life in movies by a hammy actor with an inflated ego (Alberto Sordi). The husband (Leopoldo Trieste), flummoxed and left in an embarrassing bind by her disappearance, spends the film making excuses and searching for her, but mostly making awkward faces at the camera. While not a bad romantic comedy, it is, by Fellini standards, an unstable effort. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/27/23 Full Review Audience Member Fellini's first film is a comic fantasy that already shows signs of his penchant for unusual faces and detours from reality. A newlywed couple travels from the provinces to Rome for their honeymoon, but unbeknownst to the husband (Leopoldo Trieste), his young wife (Brunella Bovo) has been writing to the photoplay magazine star, The White Sheik (played by Alberto Sordi), and immediately escapes to seek a meeting with her fangirl crush. Of course, he turns out to be much less than imagined, although she is swept off her feet at first onto a photography set 26 km from Rome from whence it proves difficult to return. At the same time, the husband has to make excuses to his uncle and aunt and extended family who had planned to take them to visit the Pope among other destinations. Trieste's eyes bulge and he sweats profusely as he struggles to keep this secret under wraps. Giulietta Masina has a cameo as Cabiria, a sympathetic prostitute (a character she would later play to acclaim in Nights of Cabiria, 1957). The whole thing is short and sweet, funny and impossible without Nino Rota's distinctive score (a definite preview of his later work with Fellini). A great start to a masterful career. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/04/23 Full Review Audience Member A rather straightforward comedy by Fellini standards, but one bolstered by expressive performances and with no shortage of thematic depth. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/22/23 Full Review Read all reviews
The White Sheik

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Movie Info

Synopsis In Italy, small-town newlyweds Wanda (Brunella Bovo) and Ivan Cavalli (Leopoldo Trieste) embark on their honeymoon in the big city of Rome. Ivan dutifully wants to keep appointments with family and church, but Wanda is only interested in meeting her favorite photo-strip star known as "The White Sheik" (Alberto Sordi). While Wanda impetuously sneaks away to locate the object of her affections, disconsolate Ivan tries his hardest to keep up appearances with the couple's relatives.
Director
Federico Fellini
Screenwriter
Michelangelo Antonioni, Federico Fellini
Genre
Comedy, Adventure
Original Language
Italian
Release Date (Theaters)
Sep 6, 1952, Original
Rerelease Date (Theaters)
Dec 25, 2019
Release Date (DVD)
Apr 29, 2003
Box Office (Gross USA)
$50.8K
Runtime
1h 23m