Stromboli (1950) starring Ingrid Bergman, Mario Vitale, Renzo Cesana, Mario Sponzo directed by Roberto Rossellini Movie Review

Stromboli (1950)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Ingrid Bergman in Stromboli (1950)


There are those who are in love with Ingrid Bergman and there are those who are in awe of Roberto Rossellini and when you combine the two you get a lot of gushing reviews as you will find if you go looking for information on "Stromboli". Reading these opinions make me wonder if they have become blinkered to the truth, incapable of saying it as it is because the truth is "Stromboli" is not a good movie. Bergman's character does not make sense, the acting else where is hard to watch, the editing is lacking and in general it is incredibly dull. Now some may say well that is the point as "Stromboli" is neo-realism, a drama about a woman struggling to deal with the boring life on a rocky Italian island and the dullness is to make us feel what she is feeling but it makes for a dull movie.

Lithuanian Karin (Ingrid Bergman - Arch of Triumph) finds herself stuck in a refugee camp following the war and despite wanting to immigrate to Argentina is refused permission. So instead she agrees to marry Antonio (Mario Vitale) who has been trying to woo her with his singing in the hope that marriage will give her a better life. Unfortunately Antonio lives on the small volcanic island of Stromboli a cold place where not only is there nothing to do but she isn't made to feel welcome.

Mario Vitale in Stromboli (1950)

"Stromboli" didn't do well when it was released, some say that is because of the affair between Bergman and Rossellini, I say that audiences and critics saw it as a flawed movie which failed to interest them. And that is the thing "Stromboli" isn't at all interesting, in fact it is painfully boring with this cold story of a woman struggling to live on a rocky island with few friends and a husband she doesn't really care for. And the flaws, well we immediately come to know that Karin is a smart woman who has got through the war on her guiles which makes you wonder why she would chose to marry a man without knowing about his home first. I suppose the idea is that Karin escapes one prison only to end up in another with little hope of escape but it still makes it unbelievable.

But "Stromboli" is a movie with lots of problems and in trying to be realistic we have a lot of non actors playing parts, saying things whilst trying not to laugh whilst we hear dodgy dubbing with inconsistent accents. The inconsistency of the dubbing is matched by the inconsistency of the editing which does little to make this movie any more interesting.

What this all really means is that "Stromboli" pretty much ends up a showcase for Ingrid Bergman trying to make an inconsistent character as believable as possible. It doesn't work as whilst Berman is captivating it is more because of her natural beauty than for her character.

What this all boils down to is that "Stromboli" doesn't work, it is incredibly dull and not the realistic movie it intended to be. I know those who are passionate about Bergman and Rossellini disagree but unless you are totally obsessed with the actress or the director give this a miss.