Miracle in Milan

Director: Vittorio De Sica
Year Released: 1951
Rating: 2.5

An elderly woman finds a baby in her cabbage patch, names him Totò (Francesco Golisano), raises him to the best of her ability but dies before he's an adult - after a stint at the orphanage, he's released and finds kinship with a bunch of homeless people, even going so far as to try to help them build their own scruffy town.  The first half of this is some of De Sica's best filmmaking - it incorporates neo-realism and fantasy (the beggars run around the gloom looking to stand under rays of sunlight) with absolute confidence - but it downright sabotages itself in the second part, where Totò climbs a pole, sees the spirit of his dead mother and is gifted a magical dove that can grant wishes and (apparently) counterattack malicious capitalist forces.  If my description makes it sound fun I'm doing it a disservice - my audible groan when the peasants fly away on brooms (in front of the Duomo) could probably be heard miles away from my house.