Carosello napoletano
by Ettore Giannini


France (Cannes) - April 4, 1954 - Le carrousel fantastique -
Italy - October 1, 1954 - Carosello napoletano - 129'
UK (London) - October 25, 1954 - Neapolian Fantasy - 124'
Sweden - December 12, 1955
- Fest i Neapel -
Spain - December 23, 1954 -
Carrusel napolitano -  105'
West Germany - October 11, 1956
- Karussell Neapel - 123'
USA (New York City, Carnegie Hall Cinema) - October 11, 1961 -
Neapolian Carousel - 113'

German poster Italian poster Italian poster French poster


A story-teller who lives with his family in a wretched hovel in Naples is evicted, and roams about the streets of the city with his family, pushing the Barbary barrel organ on which his songs are hung. A gust of wind rips away the sheets of paper: the themes of the songs follow one another on the screen. Centuries of history, evoked by the songs, sketch the face of Naples and the tribulations of her people, always struggling against poverty and need. Here is ‘The Sailor’s Lament’, based on Salvator Rosa’s painting of the Saracen invasions. And here the rivalry between a presser and a hairdresser over the love of a merchant; here a ‘Beautiful Ragamuffin’ wooed by tourists from countries which at some time or another in the past had ruled Naples; here the tragic love story between a model for bizarre postcards and a young soldier killed in the world war of 1914-18; here the tragic story between two rival bullies over the love of a beautiful woman. Love and violence, war and its aftermath, tradition and progress, hopes and disappointment, Naples will always be Naples... The story-teller continues on his way: before he goes he takes into his family a young man who is in love with his eldest daughter. They all go off together. (Enrico Lancia)
Story by Ettore Giannini, adapted from his own stage show.


Naples (Italy)
Cinecittà, Rome (Italy)

Filming dates: 1953


Paolo Stoppa (Salvatore Esposito)
Clelia Matania (Concetta, his wife)
Leonide Massine (Antonio Petito called Pulcinella)
Nadia Gray (the beautiful ragamuffin)
Maria Fiore (donna Brigida, the presser)
Sophia Loren (Sisina)


Photography (Technicolor):
Piero Portalupi
Costume design:
Maria De Matteis
Raffaele Gervasio
Still photographers:
Arnoldo Vaselli, Rosario Assenza
Leonide Massine
Lux Films (Rome)


Gross revenues for the film almost reach $800,000, which is a very considerable figure at the time.

The American audience didn't see the movie until 1961 after 16 minutes had been cut from the original version. The film was a bit of a disappointment for US audiences who had seen Loren in De Sica's La Ciociara four months earlier, and few realized that Carosello napoletano was actually shot eight years before, when Loren was still a rising star.


Sophia attends for the first time the Cannes Film Festival where the film wins the International Prize. The film is also presented at the festivals of Berlin, Locarno and Knokke-Le-Zoute (Belgium).


The film brings Loren to London for her first official public appearance, being presented to the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh when the movie opened the Italian Film Festival on October 25, 1954.


Carosello napoletano also wins the Best Foreign Film Prize at the Cinema Writers Circle Awards (Premios del Círculo de Escritores cinematográficos) in Madrid, Spain, the following year.


"As a somewhat lachrymose soubrette of the music-halls at the turn of the century, she is as physically imposing as ever, if not as spirited."
A.H. Weiler, New York Times, 12 oct 1961

"Neapolitan Fantasy is a beautiful, pleasing, radiant film. At times it is moving, especially in the episodes of the First World War, in which Sophia Loren's attractiveness towers, as in a painting by Boldini."
Arturo Lanocita, Corriere della Sera, 2 oct 1954

"Carosello Napoletano was the first major Italian musical of the postwar era. The title, which translates to Neapolitan Carousel, refers to a family of street singers. The story covers a century or so in the lives of this family, with ample screen time given over to romance and heartbreak. Basically an "inventory musical", the film spotlights several well-known Neapolitan tunes, given sprightly performances by the cast. The uncredited voice of famed tenor Beniamino Gigli is heard from time to time for the benefit of his legions of fans. At 125 minutes, Carosello Napoletano tends to wear on the viewer at times, though lovers of popular Neopolitan music and dance will get their fill."
Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

"Carlo Ponti was one of the ‘independents’ who produced for (Riccardo) Gualino’s company, and it was he himself who insisted that director Ettore Giannini – a man of the theatre who occasionally worked in films – include Sophia Loren in the film."
Stefano Masi, Sophia.

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  Excelsior Communication © 2007-2009

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