The White Sheik
(Lo sceicco bianco)
Film historian Russell Merritt has been introducing films, lecturing, and serving as an occasional guest curator at BAMPFA for more than thirty years.
Alberto Sordi, Leopoldo Trieste, Brunella Bovo, Giulietta Masina,
Federico Fellini’s first solo directorial effort is a farce about the collision of fantasy and reality. A pair of provincial newlyweds (Leopoldo Trieste and Brunella Bovo) arrive in Rome with plans for a visit with relatives and an audience with the pope. But first the naive young bride sets out to meet her heartthrob, the White Sheik (Alberto Sordi), hero of a fumetto photo-comic strip—leading to a romantic misadventure for her and a series of embarrassments for her increasingly hysterical husband. Propelled by a jaunty Nino Rota score, the film features a minor but memorable appearance by Giulietta Masina as the prostitute Cabiria.