This is the (funny) story of four agents of Roma traffic police in the '50s. Their life are crossed in affairs that often retire from mere job relationships. 'Guardia scelta' (special agent... See full summary »
This is the (funny) story of four agents of Roma traffic police in the '50s. Their life are crossed in affairs that often retire from mere job relationships. 'Guardia scelta' (special agent) Giuseppe tries to be a composer, he wants to write the anthem for the roman traffic police. 'Guardia'(agent) Alberto Randolfi has a too strong inclination to fine everyone and is dreaming about learning French. 'Brigadiere' (sergeant) Pietro Spaziali is busy looking at his little son Tonino and daughter Maria who is going to marry a boxer. The 'Maresciallo' (Marshal) tries to manage and solve all the troubles they often do. Written by
Delightful unknown Roman comedy by director Bolognini.
(Some spoilers) This delightful Roman comedy stars four of the great actors of the Italian cinema in the title roles, which refer to ranks among the Roman "vigili urbani" or traffic police. We have Alberto Sordi, Peppino De Filippo, Aldo Fabrizi, and Gino Cervi. Also in the cast is the then relatively unknown Nino Manfredi.
De Filippo plays guardia scelta Giuseppe Manganiello, who is a hack composer who wants to write an anthem to be played by the police band in which all four friends play. Trouble is he starts "inventing" melodies that are actually from the works of great composers, and at one point starts humming the Star-Spangled Banner as though it were his own creation.
Alberto Sordi is guardia Alberto Randolfi. His passion is an unrestrained zeal for handing out traffic tickets to everyone, including fire trucks that are speeding, and even to a van full of nuns after an inadvertent wrong turn. At the end of the film he is sent north by the maresciallo, Gino Cervi, who is fed up with this guy's inflexibility after complaints from ticketed diplomats and officials. In Milan, among the "Nordics," he will be better accepted, though now he is forced to learn the basics of Lombard dialect, so different from Roman Italian or French. During the movie Randolfi had tried to learn French, and he has the funniest scene when taking his qualifying oral exam in the language and can't answer simple questions but can recite a jingle about the seven days of the week!
Much of the movie centers around Aldo Fabrizi as brigadiere Pietro Spaziali. He has a daughter who wants to wed a boxer. The father approves the marriage plans, and the romance between the two young folks is not without its worries, including the question of dowry, but all works out well with the wedding being the movies penultimate scene. Spaziali's other child is Tonino, in the first screen appearance of Puckish little Edoardo Nevola. (He actually got billing in the credits and publicity higher than that of Nino Manfredi.) Nevola was to be unforgettable in IL FERROVIERE of Pietro Germi, made that same year. He would also be Fabrizi's son, under Fabrizi's direction, in IL MAESTRO.
Ettore Scola collaborated on the screenplay of this unknown gem, which was never released in the United States. Perhaps it is a trifle too parochial, a little too "Roman" to export well. Mauro Bolognini's direction is very decent, but there are very few hints of the personal style and subject matter that would characterize his later films.
The movie may have some additional historical importance as being the first Italian-made CinemaScope (Cinepanoramic) film. I first saw it in a revival at a movie theatre called the Cinema Lux in Perugia during the summer of 1971.
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