The White Sheik (Lo sceicco bianco) Reviews

  • Aug 24, 2017

    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.

    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.

  • Isaac H Super Reviewer
    Jul 06, 2017

    A rather straightforward comedy by Fellini standards, but one bolstered by expressive performances and with no shortage of thematic depth.

    A rather straightforward comedy by Fellini standards, but one bolstered by expressive performances and with no shortage of thematic depth.

  • Jun 03, 2016

    "-Real life is the life of dreams"

    "-Real life is the life of dreams"

  • Nov 26, 2015

    Fellini's first pic mixes rom-com-dram

    Fellini's first pic mixes rom-com-dram

  • Apr 05, 2015

    This is a drama about clash of desires of groupie girl and pretentious boy with a happy end of both landing the Earth.

    This is a drama about clash of desires of groupie girl and pretentious boy with a happy end of both landing the Earth.

  • Carlos M Super Reviewer
    Mar 15, 2015

    Fellini's first solo effort is this lovely gem that already showcased his talent for combining a neorealist structure with delightful touches of farce and fantasy, especially in those hilarious moments when Leopoldo Trieste is desperate to find his missing wife.

    Fellini's first solo effort is this lovely gem that already showcased his talent for combining a neorealist structure with delightful touches of farce and fantasy, especially in those hilarious moments when Leopoldo Trieste is desperate to find his missing wife.

  • Sep 07, 2014

    The neorealist Fellini is always more approachable. This lighthearted comedy is a pleasure to watch.

    The neorealist Fellini is always more approachable. This lighthearted comedy is a pleasure to watch.

  • Bruce B Super Reviewer
    Sep 12, 2013

    From Th Criterion Collection, Spine Number 189. THE WHITE SHEIK is a low-budget film set in early 1950s Rome. It concerns a newly-wed couple Ivan (Leopoldo Trieste) and Wanda (Brunella Bovo) who arrive in the city for their honeymoon. Ivan has the arrangements all planned - they will meet his uncle and aunt, see the Pope, visit the sights and enjoy a quiet evening in. However things start to go off the rails when Wanda decides to look for her hero the White Sheik (Alberto Sordi), star of a series of comic-books and films. Her enthusiasm leads her astray from the hotel and into a series of adventures involving her being transported to the film-set, being taken on a boat with the Sheik, lost in the wilderness and taken back to Rome in a strongman's automobile. Ivan tries to look for her, but ends up in a series of adventures of his own as he desperately tries to convince his relatives that everything is perfectly serene in his marital life. Fellini's film rebounds from misadventure to misadventure; it is in fact extremely funny, with wonderful performances from the three leading actors, all of whom understand the importance of gesture and facial expression. Fellini spent his early years working with clowns; it's clear that this experience informs the film. THE WHITE SHEIK has a relatively short running-time - just over 80 minutes - but it is well worth watching. 3 3/4 Stars 9-12-13

    From Th Criterion Collection, Spine Number 189. THE WHITE SHEIK is a low-budget film set in early 1950s Rome. It concerns a newly-wed couple Ivan (Leopoldo Trieste) and Wanda (Brunella Bovo) who arrive in the city for their honeymoon. Ivan has the arrangements all planned - they will meet his uncle and aunt, see the Pope, visit the sights and enjoy a quiet evening in. However things start to go off the rails when Wanda decides to look for her hero the White Sheik (Alberto Sordi), star of a series of comic-books and films. Her enthusiasm leads her astray from the hotel and into a series of adventures involving her being transported to the film-set, being taken on a boat with the Sheik, lost in the wilderness and taken back to Rome in a strongman's automobile. Ivan tries to look for her, but ends up in a series of adventures of his own as he desperately tries to convince his relatives that everything is perfectly serene in his marital life. Fellini's film rebounds from misadventure to misadventure; it is in fact extremely funny, with wonderful performances from the three leading actors, all of whom understand the importance of gesture and facial expression. Fellini spent his early years working with clowns; it's clear that this experience informs the film. THE WHITE SHEIK has a relatively short running-time - just over 80 minutes - but it is well worth watching. 3 3/4 Stars 9-12-13

  • May 29, 2013

    Light Comedy Probes Questions of Dreams, Pop Culture Icons and Familial Honour--Goofy Uber-Italian Delight!!

    Light Comedy Probes Questions of Dreams, Pop Culture Icons and Familial Honour--Goofy Uber-Italian Delight!!

  • Apr 06, 2013

    Una buona commedia irriverente che sa prendere in giro sia lo showbiz dell'epoca sia il moralismo italiano formato da casa, famiglia e chiesa. La scena di Alberto Sordi (lo sceicco bianco) in altalena e' must. La parte piu' interessante e' appunto dalla scena dell'altalena fino alla fine delle "riprese", un infinito circo di primedonne, menefreghismo e pochezza delle persone, soprattutto quelle famose.

    Una buona commedia irriverente che sa prendere in giro sia lo showbiz dell'epoca sia il moralismo italiano formato da casa, famiglia e chiesa. La scena di Alberto Sordi (lo sceicco bianco) in altalena e' must. La parte piu' interessante e' appunto dalla scena dell'altalena fino alla fine delle "riprese", un infinito circo di primedonne, menefreghismo e pochezza delle persone, soprattutto quelle famose.