Michael is the younger son of a middle-class family, a strong-willed and free-thinking fellow, who is off in some distant country fighting for a revolutionary cause. Everyone in the family writes to him, describing the events of their lives, as they drift into a kind of conventionality which would perhaps have horrified them earlier. Only Michael’s girlfriend Mara (Mariangela Melato), the mother of his child, retains her independence, even though it is through the help of Michael’s increasingly conventional friends and family that she survives. (allmovie) Read More »
This family drama by Monicelli features an impressive international cast: Liv Ullmann, Catherine Deneuve, Philippe Noiret, Stefania Sandrelli and Bernard Blier, and it won a series of prestigeous film awards upon its release. It is a less comedic film, than most of Monicelli’s oeuvre up to this point, although the folly of the Italian male is still a central theme, as it had been in so many of his films from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s.
In this case, a group of several generations of women are pulled together, when an accident strikes the padre familias (Noiret) that they all in various ways are, or have been, involved with. Thus, the second half of the film focusses on this group of very different women, and how they manage to relate to each other and get along, when they are faced with a series of serious challenges. Read More »
Mauro Bolognini, Mario Monicelli, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Steno, Pino Zac, Franco Rossi – Capriccio all’italiana AKA Caprice Italian Style (1968)
The film consists of six short stories created by different directors, but all the stories share one thing: a warm irony to current events.
Italian PORTMANTEAU film, a bit uneven.
Segment four by Pier Paolo Pasolini is by far the best; a completely MINDBLOWING and DERANGED rendering of OTHELLO played in a puppet theatre with human marionettes!
TOTÒ has the main role in this, and also in segment 2, where he hates Italian beatniks and stalks them as THE SUNDAY MONSTER! Both segments are very funny in completely different ways, but segment 2 would probably not have worked without Totò.
Segment 5 is completely unlike everything else; four minutes short, based on a animated cartoon by Pino Zac, and with Silvana Mangano as the Queen of England, and with guest appearances by James Bond (model Sean Connery)! The other three segments are fully watchable, although not so FAR OUT as number 2, 4 and 5. Read More »
Toto most successfully attempts to go one better than Chaplin in this entry in which he cleverly uses his expressive face not only to telegraph laughs but to induce audience sympathy. Set against a war-scarred Rome in the middle of winter, Toto plays a petty thief, living on his wits to provide for his family, who are uncomplainingly making the best of a small, cold-water flat with no heating. The screenplay divertingly contrasts the gaunt, if talkative Toto with excitable, roly-poly but equally loquacious Aldo Fabrizi, playing a fathead police sergeant whose family is housed in comparative luxury.
The catalyst for the plot’s ingenious action is provided by that under-rated born-in-Wisconsin actor, William Tubbs, who is wonderfully perfect here in a major role which gently pokes fun at Americans. Not only are all his scenes an absolute howl, but they are most cleverly contrived to increase in intensity as the plot progresses. You will chuckle as Toto leads him on a merry path through the Forum in his introductory scene, gasp with delight when he confronts Toto at the grocery hand-out, split your sides when he gives chase to Toto all over the countryside, and absolutely roll on the floor when he complains bitterly to Fabrizi and Carloni at the police station. This riotous scene, cleverly compounded, when Tubbs finally exits, by a gloriously satiric look at various police regulations, marks the end of the First Act.
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A group of rogues steal a scroll granting its bearer the property of the land of Aurocastro in Apulia (south of Italy). They elect a shaggy knight, Brancaleone from Norcia, as their leader, and decide to get possession of this supposedly wealthy land. Many adventures will occurr during the journey. Read More »
‘Necchi (a bar owner), Perozzi (a journalist), Melandri (an architect) and Mascetti (a broken nobleman) live in Florence. They have been friends since their youngest years and spend every free moment together organizing complex and terrible jokes to all the people they meet, or just wandering around Tuscany. One of these crazy trips ends up in the hospital run by military-like Professor Sassaroli. Melandri falls in love with his wife, and steals her from the husband, much to the delight of Sassaroli himself. The relationship won’t last but the Professor becomes the fifth member of the team of friends, and jokes get even more complicated and powerful.’
– Alessio F. Bragadini
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Some effort was made by us folks in KG’s Little Italy to honor Mario Monicelli after his death at the end of November last year, but as usual we didn’t reach very far beyond the usual group of converts. Most of you may have read that Monicelli committed suicide at age 95 by jumping off the hospital where he had just been diagnosed with cancer. This ended a career stretching 60 years, of which Un eroe dei nostri tempi is an early gem.
Alberto Sordi, who would join forces with Monicelli in films like La grande guerra and Un borghese piccolo piccolo, shines in this comedy, which must have been decisive when it came to establishing his less-than-heroic movie persona. Read More »