Steve Simels
October 06, 1995 AT 04:00 AM EDT

As drama, director Roberto Rossellini’s look at life in Nazi-occupied Rome holds up very well, but its vaunted neorealism now seems like a nonissue. In fact, Open City‘s mix of sets and locations, actors and nonprofessionals, today comes off as canny if unexceptional low-budget filmmaking. Given that the film looked a little shabby from day one, this disc transfer is more than adequate, and there’s an historically relevant supplemental section with grim newsreels of the occupation. The added audio-track narration by film scholar Peter Bondanella is a mistake, though: Do we really need to have him explain why getting hit on the head with a frying pan is funny? B+

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