The White Sheik (The Criterion Collection)


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The White Sheik (Italian: Lo sceicco bianco) is a 1952 Italian romantic comedy film directed by Federico Fellini and starring Alberto Sordi, Leopoldo Trieste, Brunella Bovo and Fellini. Written by Fellini, Tullio Pinelli, Ennio Flaiano and Michelangelo Antonioni, the film is about a man who brings his new bride to Rome for their honeymoon, to gain an audience with the Pope, and to present his wife to his family. When the young woman sneaks away to find the hero of her romance novels, the man is forced to spend hour after painful hour making excuses to his eager family who want to meet his missing bride. The White Sheik was filmed on location in Fregene, Rome, Spoleto and Vatican City.

Plot

Two young newlyweds from a provincial town, Wanda (Brunella Bovo) and Ivan Cavalli (Leopoldo Trieste), arrive in Rome for their honeymoon. Wanda is obsessed with the “White Sheik” (Alberto Sordi), the hero of a soap opera photo strip and sneaks off to find him, leaving her conventional, petit bourgeois husband in hysterics as he tries to hide his wife’s disappearance from his strait-laced relatives who are waiting to go with them to visit the Pope. The plotline was re-used by Woody Allen in his film To Rome with Love.