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Alberto Sordi is Nardo the Italian who somehow wound up on the Cote Dazur and became a fitness instructor for rich old ladies. And indeed he is much more active and jumping around all over the place than in his later work. He opens and closes the film by monologuing into the camera, but Turkish singer Dário Moreno is the real star of this French/Italian co production.
Darío plays Miguel, a meek man who lets his wife boss him around and has a job as at the local bank. The bank director has gambling debts and is thinking of ending it all, until a stuttering thief robs the bank. However, Miguel foils the attempt by putting his groceries (which he kept in the safe) in the bag of swag. Not to be outdone, the director reports that 19 million Francs have gone missing the next day. Two bumbling police inspectors, not unlike the Tintin's Dupond et Dupond/Thompson twins are put on the case.
Meanwhile, Miguel's wife Viviane (the equally Turkish Magali Noël) has been advised by her mother to fool around a bit and goes out parading with her fur coat on the beach. This was apparently the thing to do back in 1958. She immediately catches Nando's eye, who insists in taking her out to dinner. But Miguel, proud of himself for foiling the bank robbery, is treating himself to a fancy meal at the Magda club as well. Finding himself entranced by the dance act on stage, he joins in and becomes an instant hit on account of his singing voice. As soon as Viviane & Nando arrive, the viewer is treated to a well choreographed, good old fashioned sequence in which husband and wife keep walking by each other without ever catching wind of each other. And even when they do, they still fail to get sufficient proof or a visual confirmation.
The next day Miguel is offered a job as a singer and gains a sneaky agent who takes possession of his entire salary for the first day. His sudden increase in money makes the two police inspectors suspicious of him as well as the clandestine meetings Viviane is having with Nando. At this time Nando has adopted a Marlon Brando look because of a big poster of 'The Young Lions' Viviane admired on the Boulevard. This explains why the film is known as 'The Young Lion' in Italy, where Alberto Sordi naturally gets top billing, while the French version takes it's title from Darío Moreno's song 'Oh! Qué Mambo'.
Poor gullible Miguel ends up being torn between other people's wished. His wife plans to leave him, the bank director wants him to take the blame or end his life with a gun and his agent forces him to perform at the club (and in front of TV cameras) or he won't give him his gun back. But needless to say goodness and niceness win out in the end as they were meant to be in a lighthearted screwball comedy of this nature. Add to that a blink and you'll miss him cameo by the great Charles Aznavour and you'll have some good old fashioned entertainment for 82 minutes.
7 out of 10
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