Criterionís lower-tier release contains a modest, though rather thorough, collection of supplements.
A good portion of the supplements are made up of interviews. Three of Rosselliniís children participate here, Isabella Rossellini up first. In her interview, running about 13-minutes, she recalls when the film was released (and recalls a German Shepherd they got and named Generale) and her fatherís opinions of the Germans over his career, showing more forgiveness by the time he got to Il generale Della Rovere. She also gets into a comparison between the film and Kurosawaís Kagemusha, talks about how her father kept the film cheap so he could get away with more artistic freedom, and talks about his relationship with actor/director Vittorio De Sica. I could actually listen to her talk about her father and his career for forever and I hope Criterion recorded more of her for other possible Rossellini releases (this looks to be a continuation on the interview Criterion did with her for The Taking of Power by Louis XIV.)
Also looking to be a continuation of another interview that appeared on the Taking of PowerÖ release, the directorís son, Renzo Rossellini, reflects on working with his father on the film as assistant director and the shooting of the film during this 10-minute interview. Thereís a continuation from Isabellaís interview about Roberto Rosselliniís feelings about the Germans, finding himself to be able to forgive them, and thereís some rather interesting surprises about the actual planning of the film, including the fact that Lino Ventura was originally considered for the main role that eventually went to De Sica, and apparently De Sica did a lot of improv for the film. I remember thinking his segment on the Taking of PowerÖ was a little too brief so I was happy to see a segment that felt more complete.
Film professor Ingrid Rossellini gets a brief 6-minute segment where she gives a brief analysis of her fatherís film and expands on something only somewhat hinted on in the other interviews, the fact that the director actually didnít like the film, probably because it was so traditional. She of course doesnít feel that way and defends the film.
Film historian Adriano Apra completes the set of interviews with his 8-minut segment. Itís brief but I rather liked it, as he gives a quick analysis of the film, and even offers some observations and opinions that never really occurred to me, such as the fact the film is the story of a relationship between an actor and director, De Sicaís Bardone being the actor and Messemerís Colonel MŁller being the director. Brief but good.
The Choice is a 15-minute visual essay by Tag Gallagher, who also did the visual essay for Criterionís DVD of The Taking of Power by Louis XIV. Itís an excellent essay that touches briefly on the filmís origins, a short novel by reporter Indro Montanelli based on a case very similar to what appears in the movie, and also briefly goes over the history of Italy during the time the film takes place. Thereís quite a bit of information on the making of the film, Rosselliniís intentions and his disappointments, and the techniques he used to keep the budget down (long takes being a key one.) Thereís also a wonderful examination of De Sicaís Bardone. Itís a nice visual essay, and teamed with everything else gives a well rounded look at the making of the film.
Closing the disc supplements is a theatrical trailer that looks to be selling the Venice Film Festival more than the actual film.
The included booklet contains a wonderful essay on the film by James Monaco, and then an interview segment with journalist Indro Montanelli who talks about the novel and the actual person on who the novel (and film) are based.
Criterionís Rossellini releases are excellent bargains when it comes to supplements and this one is no different. Yes, thereís barely an hourís worth of stuff on here, but it feels complete. Other than a deleted scene mentioned in the booklet (and I assume is missing) thereís not much else I can think of that should be added. 7/10