Luigi Comencini’s 1960 Masterpiece: Understanding Everybody Go Home
“Everybody Go Home” (Tutti a casa) is a 1960 film directed by Luigi Comencini, written by the director himself in collaboration with Marcello Fondato and the writer duo Age & Scarpelli. The film is celebrated as one of Comencini’s masterpieces and stands as a significant work in the Italian cinema landscape, winning the jury prize at the Moscow Festival and two David di Donatello awards, presented to Alberto Sordi and producer Dino De Laurentiis. “Everybody Go Home” has been symbolically included in the list of 100 Italian films to be preserved.
Set on the coasts of Veneto, September 8, 1943, in the kitchen of a barrack of the Royal Italian Army, the radio broadcasts the famous announcement of the armistice requested by Marshal of Italy Pietro Badoglio. Jubilation quickly erupts with soldiers exclaiming “The war is over, everybody go home!” However, the reality soon turns dramatically different. Former allies, the Germans, become enemies, the King and Badoglio flee, and the troops are left in disarray without clear orders.
Lieutenant Alberto Innocenzi of the Royal Italian Army and his artillerymen, on duty away from their base, learn of the armistice belatedly and thus come under German fire, with Innocenzi mistakenly thinking “the Germans have allied with the Americans.” Dutifully waiting for orders and seeking a command to report to, the regiment disbands, and many, weary of the war, return home to their families. Along with the engineer Ceccarelli, Sergeant Fornaciari, and gunner Codegato, Lieutenant Innocenzi begins the difficult journey home, gradually shedding military demeanor to adapt to the tragic moment.
Donning civilian clothes and abandoned by their comrades, Innocenzi and Ceccarelli continue their journey, initially evading capture by the Germans, hiding from one of the first “death trains” carrying Italian and allied prisoners to German prison camps. After the train passes, a little girl collects the “notes” from the deportees.
Reunited with their companions, they encounter a group of partisans, but do not join them, witnessing without intervening the capture of a Jewish girl by the Germans; only Codegato defends her, dying in the process. The three survivors reach Fornaciari’s home, fraternizing with an American soldier hidden in the attic. However, during the night, the American soldier and Fornaciari are taken away by the fascists.
Now accompanied only by Ceccarelli, Innocenzi finally arrives home in Littoria (now Latina). He finds his home reduced to a single room, with his father complaining about cooking chicory soup with paper balls and wanting to send him away immediately: he wishes to enlist him in the army of the newly established Italian Social Republic for money. At this point, Innocenzi chooses to leave, exiting through the window and following Ceccarelli southward.
Near Naples, the two attempt to buy their freedom with a package believed to contain truffles and cured meats, but unbeknownst to them, their fellow soldiers have eaten everything and replaced the contents with rags and stones. Captured by the fascists and handed over to the Germans, they are forced to work in the rubble of Naples for the Todt Organization. They try to escape, but Ceccarelli is shot just meters from his home, glimpsed from afar on the way to forced labor.
Around them erupts the popular uprising of the Four Days of Naples. The forced laborers escape to the top of a bell tower, while Ceccarelli dies. His death shakes Innocenzi, who realizes he can no longer remain a bystander. He reacts and joins the fight to free the city. It is September 28, 1943, and Naples is about to be reached by the Allies. The film ends with Innocenzi, having regained his dignity as a man and officer, firing a machine gun at the Germans after fixing it.
The roles of Alberto Sordi and Eduardo De Filippo, who play son and father in the film, were originally envisioned for Vittorio Gassman and Totò. Although set in the Venetian plains, many scenes were filmed in Livorno and the surrounding countryside; some of the most famous include the escape of some soldiers from a German armored car and Innocenzi’s arrival in the bombed city with a load of flour, deciding to return to fight.
Other important scenes were shot in Tuscany: the barrack shown at the beginning of the film is the Rosa Maltoni Mussolini summer colony in Calambrone (Pisa). The tunnel escape scene was shot in the Orciano Pisano railway tunnel on the Pisa-Vada line, and the locomotive shown is the 735.010, which at that time was assigned to the Livorno locomotive depot. Night scenes of the train assault were filmed along the Orte-Caprànica line with the 625.107 locomotive from the Rome Sorting depot. The scene in which a boy aims a machine gun at Sordi and Reggiani in the Villa Literno station was actually filmed at the Salone station along the Rome-Tivoli line, featuring the 735.048 locomotive from the Rome depot.
Minister of Defence Giulio Andreotti refused to provide two tanks, which were consequently constructed out of plywood.