Genoa, 1943. Grimaldi is a swindler, pretending to be a colonel in the Italian army to get money from the family of people put into jail by the Nazis. Once caught, the Gestapo makes a deal with him : he will stay alive if he impersonates the General Della Rovere, a leader of the Resistance who has just been shot by the Nazis, to be put into a political jail where he is supposed to identify another Resistance leader. Written by
Though I've only seen this film once, when I was actually young, it has remained one of my lifetime 'greatest' films. It deals with how each of us has a self image, and how that self image, and the lives we lead, may be influenced by how others view us. This is, I think, one of the great common themes of our lives - and this movie examines it beautifully. Though I saw it so long ago, I still remember it each time I see an example of its theme played out in today's events. Most notably, in the U.S., it has been shown in the direction that many (but not all) of our Supreme Court justices take once they receive their lifetime posts. Their thoughts, no matter how narrow they had been, become wider and wiser once that mantle of office settles onto their personalities. This great movie prepared me to see and understand this miraculous process - and others like it.
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