The White Sheik (Lo sceicco bianco)

1952

The White Sheik (Lo sceicco bianco)

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100%

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Total Count: 13

75%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,625
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Movie Info

The White Sheik (Lo Sceicco Bianco), Fellini's first solo flight as director, is a gentle lampoon of the idolatry heaped upon movie stars. An impressionable young bride, Wanda (Brunella Bovo) accompanies her husband Ivan (Leopoldo Trieste) on a dull honeymoon, full of meetings with family members and the papal father. Bovo fantasizes over matinee idol Fernando Rivoli, AKA The White Sheik (Alberto Sordi), the hero of a photo strip comic. She repeatedly drifts away from her husband and back, in periodic attempts to find The Sheik, ultimately repairing to the location site where Sordi's latest film, The White Shiek, is in production. Her inevitable disillusionment with the vainglorious Sordi is intercut with her husband's comic (and desperate) attempts to explain his wife's absences at family gatherings to his disgruntled relatives. After a comically inept suicide attempt, Bovo and Trieste are reunited. Featured in the cast is Fellini's wife Giuletta Masina as a prostitute named Cabiria, who'd be given a vehicle of her own, Nights of Cabiria, in 1955. Based on "an idea" by Michelangelo Antonioni, The White Sheik was the main inspiration for Gene Wilder's The World's Greatest Lover (1977).

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Critic Reviews for The White Sheik (Lo sceicco bianco)

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (2) | Fresh (13)

Audience Reviews for The White Sheik (Lo sceicco bianco)

  • Jul 06, 2017
    A rather straightforward comedy by Fellini standards, but one bolstered by expressive performances and with no shortage of thematic depth.
    Isaac H 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.
    Carlos M 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
    Bruce B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 16, 2012
    Fellini has such a reputation that it might be difficult to even consider watching his work: "maybe I won't understand it ..." Well there's no reason to fear in this, his first, a light romantic comedy. A young couple's honeymoon is put on hold when the naive wife first stops to pay her respects to the Italian equivalent of a television soap opera star. Its fun, and Rome herself is the backdrop.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer

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