A very early Vittorio de Sica effort, The Children are Watching Us was originally released in Italy as I bambini ci guardano. Director De Sica collaborated with another neorealist pioneer, Cesare Zavattini, on the screenplay. The film, a real tearjerker, concerns a young mother (Isa Pola) who can't stand the pressures exerted on her by family responsibilities. She deserts her husband (Emilio Cigoli) and her brood, permanently ruining the life of her four-year-old son, Prico (Luciano de Ambrosis). Avoiding the rococo gestures and dramatic overstatement that might have attended this film had it been made in Hollywood, De Sica fashions a subtle tale about real people caught up in a real situation. De Sica's sensitivity toward the younger cast members of The Children are Watching Us would manifest itself in many of his formative films, notably Sciuscià and The Bicycle Thief. Made in 1942, the film was not released in Italy until 1944.
by Hal Erickson synopsis