Nights of Cabiria (Le Notti di Cabiria) (1957) (NTSC)

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Released 4-Apr-2018

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1957
Running Time 117:35
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Federico Fellini

Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Giuliette Masina
Franca Marzi
Francois Perier
Amedeo Nazzari
Aldo Silvani
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI ? Music Nino Rota

Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes, constantly
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     Federico Fellini’s Nights of Cabiria (Le Notti di Cabiria) is a fabulous film that won Best Foreign Film at the 1958 Oscars. The film features stunning black and white imagery of a Rome still in ruins after WW2 courtesy of cinematographer Aldo Tonti, an impressive score by Nino Rota (Oscar winner for The Godfather: Part II (1974)) and a wonderful performance by its star Giuliette Masina, who won Best Actress at Cannes for her role as the naïve, waif-like, innocent, optimistic, feisty prostitute Maria “Cabiria” Ceccarelli.

     When we first see Cabiria she is in love and happy, that is until her lover pushes her into a canal and steals her purse. Cabiria is a fighter; she owns her own small home on the road to Ostia and works nights near an aqueduct with her closest friend Wanda (Franca Marzi), other girls and their pimps. She is also eternally hopeful that something better will come along and picks herself up every time life knocks her down, such as after a brief encounter with glamorous film star Alberto (Amedeo Nazzari). With Wanda and the others Cabiria attends church on the festival of the Madonna and prays that her life will change. That night, walking home, Cabiria on a whim goes into a magic and hypnosis show where the Magician (Aldo Silvani) hypnotises her into revealing her true self. Afterwards Cabiria is approached by Oscar (Francois Perier) who seems to have a caring soul and want nothing other than to meet her again. Cabiria reluctantly agrees and love blooms over a period of weeks until Oscar asks Cabiria to marry him and start a new life, and she agrees. Is this the chance Cabiria has been praying for or will life throw her another disappointment?

     Nights of Cabiria is not about the high fliers of Italian post-war society that Fellini depicted in other films but about those living life on the outskirts of society. It is also Fellini at his most compassionate; he does not mock or patronise these people who have very little and who, despite the trials that are sent their way, remain positive and enjoy life as much as possible. Cabiria is the epitome of this outlook on life and in the role Giuliette Masina (who was married to Fellini at the time of the film - they remained married for 50 years until his death in 1993) is simply fabulous. Her round, pixie face is amazingly expressive, indeed she could be a mime as she registers innocence, anger, longing, confusion or trust, often in quick succession. Cabiria is the quintessential naïve working girl with a heart of gold and although she can be quite cruel to her best friend Wanda she wins, easily, our empathy and sympathy and your heart aches as it becomes obvious, to us at least, when her trust and optimism is misplaced. Masina is seldom off camera and her best actress award at Cannes in 1957 was totally deserved.

     Nights of Cabiria is a fabulous film, a happy, sad, poignant film, a celebration of life and especially hope. The final sequence in the film is brilliant; one could not guess how Fellini might resolve the drama but this last sequence is wonderful, a summation of what has gone before; it must be one of the best final sequences in film, ever! The difference in approach can be seen when Nights of Cabiria got a very different Hollywood treatment as Sweet Charity in 1969.

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Transfer Quality


     Nights of Cabiria is in the original aspect ratio of 1.33:1, 4x3 and NTSC. It displays full screen on my widescreen TV.

     This DVD contains the 1998 restored version of this 1957 Black and White film. Not surprisingly, scenes can be on the soft side. Small marks and minor scratches still occur but are not distracting and minor edge enhancement is there but grain is controlled and this generally is a good print. In the night time scenes blacks are solid and shadow detail acceptable.

     English subtitles are provided in a cream text. They can be removed via the remote. They do contain a number of errors including the very frequent “L’ll” instead of “I’ll” which occurred about 10 times.

     The layer change at 58:59 created a pause in the middle of a scene.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     Audio is Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono at 192 Kbps. The film was released with mono audio at the theatre.

     There is occasional slight hiss but dialogue is clear. Effects are limited to engines and the crowd at the church while the score by Nino Rota is nicely rendered.

    Lip synchronisation looked to be slightly out a few times.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     Nothing. There is no menu, the programme starts when the DVD loads.


    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The US Region 1 Criterion DVD includes an English dub and number of extras including a restoration featurette, so is the best version although it is now out of print. The Region 2 UK release looks to be the same as our Region Free NTSC release, except it is PAL.


     With a script that is funny, sad, poignant, compassionate, a celebration of life and hope, stunning black and white cinematography of a Rome still in ruins, an impressive score and a wonderful performance by Giuliette Masina that won her Best Actress at Cannes, Federico Fellini’s Oscar winning Nights of Cabiria is a genuine classic of World cinema. It is a fabulous film and this DVD from Umbrella is more than welcome.

    The print is fine for a 60 year old film, the audio is the original mono. No extras, which is a pity.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, May 10, 2018
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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