L'Amore (film)

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For the 1953 film directed by Fellini, Antonioni, and four others, see L'Amore in Città. For the 1973 Warhol/Morrissey film, see L'Amour (film).
Directed by Roberto Rossellini
Produced by Roberto Rossellini
Written by Roberto Rossellini
Federico Fellini
Jean Cocteau
Starring Anna Magnani
Federico Fellini
Music by Renzo Rossellini
Distributed by Joseph Burstyn (US)
Release dates
August 1948 (Venice Film Festival)
February 1950 (US)
Running time
70 minutes

L'Amore (1948) is an Italian anthology film directed by Roberto Rossellini starring Anna Magnani and Federico Fellini.[1]

The film opened to considerable controversy in the United States, which led to a lengthy legal dispute, Joseph Burstyn, Inc. v. Wilson, that ended up in the Supreme Court of the United States that ruled in 1952 that film as a form of expression was protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.[2]

In the United States the film was first exhibited in New York City in November 1950. In December, The Ways of Love was voted the best foreign language film of 1950 by the New York Film Critics Circle.[citation needed] The film was condemned by the National Legion of Decency in 1951 and became a catalyst for a Supreme Court decision on censorship and First Amendment freedom of speech issues.[citation needed]

Production background[edit]

The film has two parts: "Il Miracolo" ("The Miracle") and "Una Voce Umana" ("The Human Voice"). The latter is based on a French play The Human Voice (La Voix humaine, 1930) by Jean Cocteau. Rossellini and Fellini co-wrote "Il Miracolo", and Rossellini adapted Cocteau's play. Magnani appears in both segments.

The film was first exhibited in Europe in 1948, starting in Italy. Magnani was awarded the Nastro d'Argento (Silver Ribbon) in 1949 for best actress for her performance in the film.

L'Amore and The Ways of Love[edit]

In 1950, "The Miracle" was removed from L'Amore for international distribution and placed in another three-part anthology film The Ways of Love, which featured two other short films, Jean Renoir's "A Day in the Country" (1936) and Marcel Pagnol's "Jofroi" (1933).[1]

"The Miracle"[edit]

Fellini and Rossellini co-wrote the script for "The Miracle".

The plot of "The Miracle" is centered around a man, "Saint Joseph" (played by director Federico Fellini), who villainously impregnates "Nanni" (Anna Magnani), a disturbed peasant who believes herself to be the Virgin Mary.

"The Human Voice"[edit]

"The Human Voice" is based on Jean Cocteau's play about a woman desperately trying to salvage a relationship over the telephone.


"The Miracle" part of the film was embroiled in a major controversy when U.S. distributor Joseph Burstyn exhibited the film, as Ways of Love with English subtitles, in New York City in November 1950. In December, Ways of Love was voted Best Foreign Language Film of 1950 by the New York Film Critics Circle.

The film was condemned by the National Legion of Decency in 1951 as "anti-Catholic" and "sacrilegious".

The New York State Board of Regents, in charge of film censorship for New York State, revoked the license to show the film on February 16, 1951. This led to a lawsuit finally decided by the United States Supreme Court in 1952 in Joseph Burstyn, Inc. v. Wilson, a case popularly known as the "Miracle Decision", which declared the film was a form of artistic expression protected by the freedom of speech guarantee of First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Due to legal complications over the rights to Cocteau's play, the film was not exhibited for many years, until a restored print was shown at the Roxie Cinema in San Francisco in 1978.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Amore (1948)". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ Text of Joseph Burstyn, Inc v. Wilson , 343 U.S. 495 (1952) is available from:  Findlaw  BC 

External links[edit]