Part of Essential Fellini.
Provincial Ivan’s (Leopoldo Trieste) Roman honeymoon plans go sour when bride Wanda (Brunella Bovo) goes missing. Newlywed super-fan Wanda’s first priority is to meet the The White Sheik (Alberto Sordi), a fantasy hero of her beloved fumetti (photo-illustrated comics). But when Wanda comes face-to-face with the Sheik of her dreams, she’s propelled veil-first into a romantic misadventure that triggers a series of embarrassments for her increasingly hysterical husband.
Fellini’s solo directorial debut (following 1950’s VARIETY LIGHTS, which he co-directed with Alberto Lattuada) also marked his first collaboration with composer Nino Rota, who’d create unforgettable scores for Fellini all the way to 1978 with ORCHESTRA REHEARSAL, and the first appearance of a friendly streetwalker named Cabiria (Giulietta Masina), who four years later would be the central character of the Fellini masterpiece NIGHTS OF CABIRIA. (Synopsis adapted from Film Forum)
Restored by the Cineteca di Bologna, in collaboration with RTI-Mediaset and Infinity, with funding from MiBACT, for the Fellini 100 Project.
“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.” —Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times “...Not only the first but also in some respects the most charming, least overweening film Fellini ever made — a comic fable of mass-produced fantasy and fanatical devotion.” —J. Hoberman, New York Times “...Might even be seen as a distillation of Fellini’s vision of innocence and corruption that preceded the more stylistically elaborated versions of it — a distillation so pointedly attentive to the shame as well as innocence of small-town hayseeds that it doesn’t need the relative lassitude of I VITELLONI, the sentimentality of LA STRADA, the melodrama of NIGHTS OF CABIRIA, or the three-ring circus acts of LA DOLCE VITA, 8 1/2, and later works to carry its emotional conviction.” —Jonathan Rosenbaum, Criterion Channel’s The Current (reprinted from I, Fellini, 1995, by Charlotte Chandler)