“Neo-realism” was an obligatory first phase for post-war directors who wished to be taken seriously, and some fine films resulted from it… The products of this genre are usually gritty, worthy and well made, shot on the street often with non-professional actors. Yet they are also humourless, comfortless and unglamorous, and they were not very popular with Italians. Working-class people understandably found it more diverting to watch John Wayne fighting “Red Indians” or Charlie Chaplin outwitting huge bullies than to see themselves represented as exploited fishermen in Sicily or Romans so poor that they could not afford a bicycle.

David Gilmour, “The Pursuit of Italy”.

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