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Film / Journey to Italy

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Journey to Italy, aka Voyage to Italy, is a 1954 film directed by Roberto Rossellini.

Despite being an Italian production the film is in English. Alex and Katherine Joyce (George Sanders and Ingrid Bergman) are a wealthy husband and wife who have journeyed to Naples to sell a house that Alex has recently inherited from his deceased Uncle Homer. The couple, who are spending an extended period of time together for the first time in a while, suddenly discover that they don't like each other very much. The vacation soon descends into angry sniping and tension. Alex seizes on a transparent excuse to take the ferry to Capri, supposedly to sell the house but really to party, while a lonely Katherine tours the attractions of Naples and Pompeii (the Fontanelle cemetery, the Phlegraean Fields, and the Naples Museum are promintently featured). Meanwhile, their marriage deteriorates.


One of the films Bergman made with Rossellini during her exile from Hollywood caused by the very Serious Business of the two of them having an affair when both were married to other people (though Rossellini was separated at the time).


  • Dead Sparks: Katherine and Alex seem heartily tired of each other.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Katherine is irritated when Alex flirts with other women, and for his part he gets annoyed when she's laughing it up with a bunch of dudes at a party.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: When Alex says that Katherine seemed to enjoy a party she says "Well you seemed pretty gay yourself."
  • MacGuffin: The sale of the villa, which is only a narrative convenience to get Alex and Katherine together in an exotic locale.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The film ends with Alex and Katherine caught up in a religious procession in downtown Naples. As a man throws off his crutches the crowd shouts "milagro, milagro!" Katherine and Alex, who just minutes before had decided to get a divorce, embrace and declare their love for each other. Was it just an emotional moment, or was it a miracle?
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  • P.O.V. Cam: The first shot is a POV shot of the camera zipping down an Italian country road, as Alex and Katherine drive to Naples.
  • Posthumous Character: Uncle Homer, described as a gregarious bon vivant who liked to give parties.
  • Sleeping Single: Not as rigidly enforced a rule in European cinema of the day, but here it works to emphasize how Alex and Katherine have grown apart.
  • Slice of Life: There isn't a whole lot of story in the movie, just a simple portrait of a marriage being undermined by frustration and ennui.
  • Speech-Centric Work: If the film isn't showing off the tourist attractions of Naples and its surroundings, it's showing Alex and Katherine talking.
  • Streetwalker: Alex picks one up outside a hotel. Since this is a 1950s art film, instead of performing a sex act on Alex the hooker talks about her suicidal depression, after which he drops her off.
  • Together in Death: Alex and Katherine witness a Real Life excavation of plaster castings of two people who were killed at Pompeii when the volcano blew up. As their guide talks about how the man and woman, possibly husband and wife, shared death together, Katherine breaks down sobbing.
  • We Are as Mayflies: Katherine says "Life is so short", after seeing the castings of two people who died in Pompeii nearly 1900 years ago.