The Bicycle Thief movie review (1949)

little later, to his astonishment, Ricci spots the bicycle thief, and pursues
him into a brothel. An ugly crowd gathers. A cop arrives, but can do nothing,
because there is no evidence and only Ricci as witness. And then, in the famous
closing sequence of the movie, Ricci is tempted to steal a bicycle himself,
continuing the cycle of theft and poverty.

story is so direct it plays more like a parable than a drama. At the time it
was released, it was seen as a Marxist fable (Zavattini was a member of the
Italian communist party). Later, the leftist writer Joel Kanoff criticized the
ending as “sublimely Chaplinesque but insufficiently socially
critical.” David Thomson found the story too contrived, and wrote,
“the more one sees ‘Bicycle Thief,’ the duller the man becomes and the
more poetic and accomplished De Sica’s urban photography seems.”


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