Cast: Anna Magnani (Lydia), Amedeo Nazzari (Ernesto), Carla Del Poggio (Maria), Carlo Campanini (Carlo), Eliana Banducci (Rosetta), Mino Doro (Mirko), Folco Lulli (Andrea), Gianni Appelius (Signorina).
Credits: Producer, Dino De Laurentiis for Lux Film-R.D.L. Director, Alberto Lattuada. Scenario, Biancoli, Caudana, Lattuada, Margadonna, Pinelli, Tellini. Photography, Aldo Tonti. Music, Felice Lattuada.
Ernesto and Carlo are two friends who have just returned from a prisoner of war camp. But whereas Carlo finds his little daughter waiting for him and starts work again in the saw-mill up the mountains. Ernesto is lost in the seething life of the city. His mother is dead and his sister Maria has disappeared; Ernesto tries in vain to build up a new life for himself, but fate pushes him downward to his doom. One evening he comes upon Maria in a brothel; he tries to save her, but the man who has been exploiting her bars his way. A desperate struggle ensues which ends in the death of this man. Maria dies too however. Ernesto, who is now an outlaw, becomes the head of a gang of ruffians with Lydia, a woman of evil repute, as his accomplice. The only ray of light in his life are the letters he gets from Carlo and his little girl Rosetta. Then one day as Ernesto and his men, with the police at their heels, try to cross the frontier, they steal a car in which Rosetta travel. Ernesto defends the child from his men and, having saved her, goes willingly to meet his death.
New York, June 1949
Action, emotion and excellent performances, as a good man is drawn into banditry and pays the price in unhappy postwar Italy.
Here again in an Italian film is a picture of the ugly wake of war—death, destruction, unemployment, crime. Against that background, Lux has made a quality film of a good man who is drawn into banditry and pays the price. The obvious possibilities for action and emotion have been well handled and the cast is topped by two first-rate leading performers. The big name is that Anna Magnani, at her best in a many-faceted performance, as the bandit queen. In an even more prominent role and just about matching her performance is Amedeo Nazzari, the bandit, who bears a remarkable resemblance to Errol Flynn. The romantic moments between this pair are few but virile. Its quality and the Magnani name should make ‘The Bandit‘ good for art and foreign houses.