Necchi (a bar owner), Perozzi (a journalist), Melandri (an architect) and Mascetti (a broken nobleman) live in Florence. They have been friends since their youngest years and spend every ... See full summary »
Esposito is a thief who cons tourists in Rome. A lengthy persecution by police Bottoni, who manages to catch it starts. In an oversight Esposito manages to flee again. Bottoni superiors inform him that if no catches him will lose his job.
Gianni, Nicola and Antonio become close friends in 1944 while fighting the Nazis. After the end of the war, full of illusions, they settle down. The movie is a the story of the life of ... 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
Award: Uliva d'oro at the 4th Bordighera Film Festival. 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.
See more »
As is typical in most Italian comedies, Monicelli has taken a cup of post war Italy realism and stirred in a cup of scenes from the human condition along with a dash of physical comedy which makes 'Big Deal On Madonna Street' a bittersweet cake we all can enjoy.
Like DeSica and Visconti, Monicelli uses post war Italy as the atmosphere in which these characters find themselves trying to eke out their lives. The recurring Italian film maker's theme of man against a complicated, bureaucratic life is no more evident than here. Throughout the film, the characters impressively quote Italian law by chapter and verse however this does not help them as they all have spent time in jail. The absurdity of knowledge without benefit of improvement is a another theme used. As Toto waxes eloquently regarding the sundry ways to break into a safe (one which the film goer is led to believe he knows nothing about), these men attempt to gain knowledge which they believe will deliver the big score. However even with knowing the apartment is empty, the type of safe the valuables are in and the way to gain access to the safe, their plan is flawed by their inability to execute what seems to them to be a fool proof blue print for success.
While Monicelli's themes ring as clear as the bell that has Peppe il pantera (Gassman) on the canvas, the characterizations of this band of misfits are classic. A stuttering, would be fighter (Gassman), and an out-of-work photographer who has sold his camera to survive (Mastroianni)lead the crew. The scenes played between Gassman's 'everything's easy' attitude and Mastroianni's inquisitiveness provide the viewer with hilarious cat and mouse verbal trade-offs.
In the end, 'Big Deal On Madonna Street' strikes a chord for viewers because we have all felt, at times, completely helpless by the absurdity of life and our pursuit for 'the prize' that we perceive will deliver us from our situation. However like this crew at the end of the film, we wake up every morning and realize that it's back to work to grind out another day.
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