General Della Rovere (1960): Rossellini’s Masterpiece

General Della Rovere, Italian director Roberto Rossellini’s masterpiece is a detailed chronicle of a man’s transformation during the German occupation of Milan.

Based on a novel by Indro Montanelli, the factual story centers on Colonel Mueller (Hannes Messemer) who plants a spy in a Milano prison. He chooses a petty thief who earns his living plying the black-market trade and assign him to the task. He is thrown in jail under the false identity of General della Rovere (Vittorio De Sica) in order to bring out the Italian resistance fighters among the prisoners.

The fake general makes friends with these men, he becomes a leader of sorts, and this transformation changes his way of thinking about himself.

The film was honored as Best Foreign Film by the New York Film Critics, after winning the Golden Lion at the 1959 Venice Film Fest.

Oscar Nominations: 1

Story and Screenplay: Sergio Amidei, Diego Fabbri, Indro Montanelli

Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context:

The winner was William Inge for Splendor in the Grass

Running time: 160 minutes.

Directed by Roberto Rossellini

Written by Sergio Amidei, Diego Fabbri, Indro Montanelli

DVD: March 31, 2009