On his way to Africa, Don Pietro, a young missionary priest has his suitcase stolen in the station of Naples. While making every effort to retrieve his baggage he finds out how devastated ...
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On his way to Africa, Don Pietro, a young missionary priest has his suitcase stolen in the station of Naples. While making every effort to retrieve his baggage he finds out how devastated and miserable the city of Naples is. Learning that he has been the victim of gang of local street urchins, he decides that is mission is here in Naples, not under distant skies. He creates a home for poor kids, assisted by Maddalena, the cook, with a view to putting the "scugnizzi" back on the right track. He is very successful with Peppinello, who shows gratitude for what the priest is doing and feels good in his new secure home. But other kids do not play by the rules and find the home a convenient place for hiding the product of their thefts... Written by
"Proibito rubare" ("Stealing Forbidden") was given a release in the United States as "Guagliò," short for "guaglione" or "boy" in Neapolitan dialect. Some of the ads even featured the phonetic transcription, namely "WAL-YO." It is about Don Pietro, a Neapolitan priest, who is appalled by the plight of street urchins or "scugnizzi" of Naples after one of them pinches his suitcase. He takes on the mission similar to that of Father Flanagan in "Boys' Town" and establishes a home for about twenty of these waifs at a convent. One of his most admiring young tykes is Peppinello, a cherub-faced little boy in tattered clothes, played by Mario Russo. He is the only one who really loves what the priest is doing and enjoys his new secure home. Many of the other boys, on the other hand, use this home as a 'Dead End Kids' hostel, a place to hide stolen watches and remain out of the sight of the police. Adolfo Celi plays Don Pietro (same name as the priest in Rossellini's "Open City!") with humor and charismatic warmth. The boys are uniformly fine. Character actress Tina Pica does a nice turn as a cook. Nino Rota of Fellini fame wrote the score. Suso Cecchi d'Amico, one of Italy's top screenwriters, collaborated on the story and script. Director Luigi Comencini would receive acclaim in the 1950's for his Gina Lollobrigida rustic comedies "Bread, Love and Dreams" and "Bread, Love and Jealousy" ("Frisky.") Although a lesser film than De Sica's "Shoe Shine," this is seen as a more optimistic successor to that earlier tragedy and it is a pleasure to watch.
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