Mario is in Hannover to work as a miner but after loosing his job he decides to go back to Italy. When Totonno steals his passport to avoid the police and later on he offers him a new job ... See full summary »
Mario is in Hannover to work as a miner but after loosing his job he decides to go back to Italy. When Totonno steals his passport to avoid the police and later on he offers him a new job as "magliaro" (cloth seller), Mario changes his mind and decides to follow Totonno to Hamburg. In Hamburg, Totonno and his friends have to sell Mayer's cloth but they meet with the hostility of a Polish gang and Mario falls in love with Paula Mayer. Written by
Baldinotto da Pistoia
Released in 1959, "I Magliari" is one of the numerous politically-engaged and socially-committed films Italian director Francesco Rosi has made throughout the 1950s and 1960s. A story of itinerant sellers in Germany, the film features Alberto Sordi and Renato Salvatori as the two male stars, and British actress Belinda Lee who died only a couple of years after the making of this movie. The film was shot entirely in Germany (Hannover and Hamburg) where a group of Italian emigrants try to make their fortune by engaging in a series of organized scams that appear to revolve around the sale of poor quality textiles as genuine quality fabric to Germans at inflated prices. Although the latter part of the film develops into a love story between the rather good-hearted young Tuscan expatriate, Mario (Renato Salvatori, a moving Brad Pitt look-alike, on his way to international fame -- see "Rocco and his Brothers" directed by Visconti in 1960), and the pretty and somewhat mysterious Paula Mayer (Belinda Lee), the wife of the German boss, much of the film focuses on male groups exercising, challenging and negotiating power in a desperate effort to secure spoils and territory. Hence the rather unusual blend of several styles (Italian comedy, romance, and documentary-like scenes about the living conditions of Italian emigrants in post-war Western Germany). Alberto Sordi is extraordinary as a pitiful crook, big-mouthed and cynical. One of the scenes shows Sordi at his best when he tries to sell a whole batch of carpets to a nice and gullible German housewife. The scene is the comical peak of the film, which is on the other hand not so funny. The story deals mainly with the theme of emigration and is still worth watching today, as the North-South problem is still increasing. This flashback into the '50s is a salutary one and is certainly no "small work" from F. Rosi. For those who like music of the '50s, the score features several hits of that time.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?