Mario leads a normal life, working in a Milan bank. His daily routine is shattered when he witnesses a murder and is shot himself by the killer, a deranged police commissioner. To save his ... See full summary »
Al Caruso, John Gresco and Jack Amoruso are three gangsters working for the Genovese family. However, their efforts are more than headache-inducing, and when they are given one last chance:... See full summary »
Peppe, formerly a boxer, organizes the break-in of a pawnshop. Tiberio, an unemployed photographer, Mario, a receiver, the Sicilian Michele and Capannelle, an ex-jockey, are the other members of the gang. Though they are advised by Dante, a retired burglar, the task is not so easy... Written by
At the beginning of the project, Producer Grimaldi didn't want Vittorio Gassman to play his role because he was considered too beautiful and elegant to act like a loser boxer. Gassman acted with very strong make up, included a fake nose, to fill Grimaldi's requests. See more »
Tell me, do you know a guy called Mario who lives around here?
Boy playing soccer:
There are a thousand Marios around here.
Yes, but this one is a thief.
Boy playing soccer:
There are still a thousand.
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Good Fluffy Heist Romp Loaded With Great Italian Stereotypes
As a veteran of heist movies, I think my opinion is valid when I say that it's not so much a spoof of heist films like Rififi as it is just a funny movie about thieves who bumble their way through what could be a much slicker and less complicated heist if the thieves from Rififi were pulling it off instead. The movie enjoys its fair share of little con tricks and bait-and-switch-oriented goings-on, mostly played for laughs of surprise. Perhaps Big Deal On Madonna Street is a little too laid back to really be as memorable as I was thinking it would be, but it is very funny. It has several great sight gags and well-timed moments of Italian-faced goofiness.
The most entertaining thing about the film is the fact that it's Italian. The Italian cast is so jampacked with overt stereotypes, everyone gesturing wildly and saying, "Mamma Mia!" The outcome of the heist is such a ridiculous slur on the comic strip archetype of Italians, something twice or thrice as hilarious to an American audience. However, the appeal is not just in the humor in what is either an Italian self-parody or an unaware display of every mocked Italian institution. It's also the extroverted, old-fashioned world of your average Italian in this film. The first half hour of the film is a bunch of characters scrambling to find a friend who will take the rep for someone for a little while in prison, and everything continually gets more complicated and more tangled, and so many different people end up in prison. Not only do I find it amusing how nonchalant everyone is in deciding whether they will do this favor that involves spending time in jail or not, but I'm also fascinated about the idea that in Italy, crooks aren't so much worried about what will happen to them when they go to prison as they're worried to death of what their mother will think of them or how their mother will be so wounded by what has come of her son. It's almost a beautiful mindset, if you ask me.
Big Deal On Madonna Street is no masterpiece, no movie that you desperately want to come back to, but it's very funny and an enjoyable piece of European cinema.
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