Loyal fascist Ugo Tognazzi takes Georges Wilson prisoner
msroz from United States
2 August 2015
"Il federale" (1961) (The fascist) is a good comedy, with many funny
situations and lines that made me laugh out loud. I certainly recommend
Ugo Tognazzi plays it straight as a highly-indoctrinated and loyal
fascist soldier who is given the assignment of arresting a professor,
Georges Wilson, and bringing him back to Rome. The professor is a
well-known man whom others want to lead a new democratic government.
The two men are on the road outdoors for most of the picture, sparring
as well as forming a bond. Along the way they encounter some situations
where they must cooperate, especially when encountering German soldiers
who lock them up and requisition Tognazzi's motorcycle.
Tognazzi is a health and fitness addict who finds an answer to all
situations in doing his duty and relying on slogans. He's not mean or
cruel at all, but he's firm in his quest to get Wilson back to Rome.
Wilson is a canny older man who gently tries to introduce Tognazzi to
the idea of freedom. He reads poetry from a tiny book whose pages serve
as cigarette wrappers in a pinch.
The picture is neither heavy-handed nor overdone as comedy. It manages
to poke fun at fascists and others at a time near the end of the war
when both Germans and Americans were invading Italy and many people had
to scramble just to get food.
Along the way, they encounter a young road girl (Stefania Sandrelli)
who manages to sell Wilson back his own glasses for 150 lira. Tognazzi
stops off to visit the man whom he idolizes who trained him in fascism,
Gianrico Tedeschi, finding him not quite the hero he thought.
Although the war is all but lost, the dedicated Tognazzi persists. He
repeats the slogan that the fascists will win because their cause is
just. In one amusing encounter, he's almost taken prisoner by two
teenage fascists who grill him on important dates in fascist history.
By the time they reach Rome, it's Tognazzi who faces danger.
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