The White Sheik (1952) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • Moments after the newlywed couple of the fastidious office employee Ivan and his young and pure wife Wanda arrive at a hotel in Rome for their honeymoon and a formal meeting with Ivan's uncle, the bride decides to sneak out of the room and leave unnoticed. Wanda, obsessed with the masculine "White Sheik", her idol and hero of her favourite romantic photonovel, and tempted by his fiery invitation, she decides to actually meet him in person just to show him a painting she made. Without a doubt, 20-year-old Wanda risks a lot, however, she needs to see him in all of his glory. Instead, she will reluctantly join the cast of the photonovel, she will even get a small part too, she will be seduced by the arrogant protagonist and ultimately, confused and disappointed, she will inevitably realise that she is all alone and so far away from Rome and her husband. Perplexed by Wanda's strange disappearance and unable to disclose the news to his family, Ivan will seek her in the streets of Rome during the night, counting backwards until their 11 o'clock appointment with the uncle and the Pope in the Vatican. What will the new day bring for the newlyweds?

  • The first two days of a marriage. Ivan, a punctilious clerk brings his virginal bride to Rome for a honeymoon, an audience with the Pope, and to present her to his uncle. They arrive early in the morning, and he has time for a nap. She sneaks off to find the offices of a romance magazine she reads religiously: she wants to meet "The White Sheik," the hero of a soap-opera photo strip. Star-struck, she ends up 20 miles from Rome, alone on a boat with the sheik. A distraught Ivan covers for her, claiming she's ill. That night, each wanders the streets, she tempted by suicide, he by prostitutes. The next day, at 11, is their papal audience. Can things still right themselves?

  • During a day in their honeymoon, a couple is separated by the city's lust and the desires it produces.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Young newlyweds Ivan Cavalli (Leopoldo Trieste) and Wanda (Brunella Bovo) go to Rome on a dull honeymoon to meet with the papal father and a gaggle of family relations. Wandas favorite comic strip, The White Sheik, originates in Rome and while her husband naps before their family duties begin, she sneaks out to the studio where the comic strip is managed to try to meet her matinee idol who portrays the White Sheik, Fernando Rivoli (Alberto Sordi) but gets included in the daily location shooting some twenty miles from the city. On the excursion Wanda experiences what location shooting is like for these free-spirited actors and the young virgin is impressed when Rivoli attempts to make love to her. Meanwhile back in Rome Ivan deals with his relatives who are eager to meet his new young bride, suffering many thoughts of heartache as to why Wanda would abandon him, the young husband invents a cover story to buy time after contacting the Police to file a missing-person report. Wanda is so alluring to Rivoli that she is hired as one of the support cast but runs away when Rivoli's overbearing wife appears and is left behind when the cast and crew return to Rome. In Rome Ivan bumps into a lady of the night, Cabiria (Giulietta Masina) and when he returns the next morning finally reunites with Wanda and some interesting truths are established.

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