Nights of Cabiria (1957), “... a film that owes as much to City Lights as it does to The Bicycle Thief. ... Nights of Cabiria shifts so effortlessly between heartbreaking and comic it's easy to forget how badly the movie could have gone. It's about that most sentimental of stock characters: the hooker with the heart of gold. It's easy to imagine a lighthearted version in which Cabiria is lifted from her sordid surroundings (and that version is called Pretty Woman). Or the movie could have gone the other way and been a turgid "gritty" drama about life on the Roman streets. ... But Cabiria is so fully realized and human that she defies stereotypes. Credit for this goes entirely to Gulietta Masina, who captures Cabiria's loneliness and pride in every frame.”—Matt Dessem.
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