Blu-ray, DVD Release: Bitter Rice

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Jan 12, 2015
Price: DVD $29.95, Blu-ray $39.95
Studio: Criterion

The 1949 Italian melodrama Bitter Rice was an early smash for producer extraordinaire Dino De Laurentiis (Blue Velvet) and director Giuseppe De Santis (Days of Love).

Silvana Mangano in Bitter Rice

Silvana Mangano in Bitter Rice

During planting season in Northern Italy’s Po Valley, an earthy rice-field worker (Conversation Piece’s seductive Silvana Mangano) falls in with a small-time criminal (Il sorpasso’s Vittorio Gassman) who is planning a daring heist of the crop, as well as his femme-fatale-ish girlfriend, played by the Hollywood star Doris Dowling (The Lost Weekend).

Both a socially conscious look at the hardships endured by underpaid field workers and a melodrama tinged with sex and violence, Bitter Rice is an Italian neorealism triumph served up with a heaping dose of pulp.

Presented in Italian with English subtitles, Criterion’s DVD and Blu-ray editions contain the following:

  • New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Giuseppe de Santis, a 2007 documentary by screenwriter Carlo Lizzani
    • Interview with screenwriter Lizzani from 2003
    • Trailer
    • New English subtitle translation
    • An essay by critic Pasquale Iannone


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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.