I have always thought that Italian comedies were far superior to French ones.They all have a tragical side ,which eludes the French directors.
"Guardie e Ladri" is a long chase between a two-bit crook and a cop with a tender heart.The first scene when the lad pretends he is a guide and shows to the naive tourist Colombus's grave and Poppea's bathtub is sheer genius.If it were not enough ,the guide finds an "inestimable " coin,a sesterce from Augustus' time! The depiction of the two families,the cozy house of the cop where the girl plays the piano and the seedy small flat where the runaway packs into with his large family rings true.Actually Monicelli calls the establishment into question:unemployment,poverty,plenty of mouthes to feed ,can we really blame the thief?The last picture is revealing.
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