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The Fascist More at IMDbPro »Il federale (original title)

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Loyal fascist Ugo Tognazzi takes Georges Wilson prisoner

Author: 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 it.

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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