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"Smoke over London" ("Fumo di Londra") is the very first feature of Alberto Sordi as director. The Roman was one of the best comic actors of the Italian cinema, he made many memorable films. (We don't have to forget that Federico Fellini made him a star: he chose Sordi for his first two features, "Lo sceicco bianco" and "I vitelloni".)
With this movie, in 1966, Sordi took a new challenge in his career -directing.
Dante Fontana (Sordi) is an Italian man in love with British culture and lifestyle. His dream is coming to the Swingin'London and living like a typical Englishman -he will test the impossibility, for him, to be English...
Albertone (in Italy he was called in this way!) is funny and comical as always. Unfortunately his debut is not special -only a few exceptions of his self-directed movies are very good, like "Polvere di stelle" or "Finché c'è guerra c'è speranza". The reason is that this movie sometimes is boring and loses speed. The way of directing is rather self-indulgent; Sordi loses time with many shots of London -it seems a postcard. Albertone loved filming stories outside Italy and the fault is always the same: focusing more on the environment than in the story. It's a pity, it's like he wastes part of his performing energy.
Sordi gives the best of himself when he's directed by someone else (for example Mario Monicelli, Dino Risi, Ettore Scola, Vittorio De Sica, Luigi Comencini... in other words the Italian comedy big directors). In these contests he works in an excellent way.
But Alberto Sordi is always nice and funny and the movie is not bad. I say OK for "Smoke over London" most for his actor than for the film itself.
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