When a deported gangster dies in Italy, the U.S. treasury dept. is very interested in the $1,000,000.00 Madigan owed the government, but managed to take to Italy with him. They send agent ... See full summary »
When a deported gangster dies in Italy, the U.S. treasury dept. is very interested in the $1,000,000.00 Madigan owed the government, but managed to take to Italy with him. They send agent Jason Phister over to Italy to nose out the million. His criteria for the job is that no one would ever guess he's an agent of the United States government. Written by
April M. Cheek <Aravis2713@aol.com>
fun lowbrow European crime comedy featuring early Dustin Hoffman
This Spanish-Italian crime comedy is another Sidney Pink production (see my review of FICKLE FINGER OF FATE) and stars the young Dustin Hoffman as Jason Fister, a bumbling treasury agent who is assigned to a case in Rome because the people in his home office want to get rid of him. His task is to track down a million dollars stashed away by a former gangster turned insurance man, played by Cesar Romero whose role must take all of five minutes. Although this film was not released in the US until 1969, from reading producer Sid Pink's autobiography I got the impression that it was made right before THE GRADUATE. His performance here is very good--kind of like a more subdued Jerry Lewis (or is that a more subdued Sammy Petrillo?). Having his voice post-synchronized later hurts a bit, but Mr. Hoffman does his best, and I found the film to be a harmless yet enjoyable lowbrow comedy, not too different in feel from such Pink productions as FICKLE FINGER OF FATE or WITCH WITHOUT A BROOM. It's certainly more of a success than, say, Who is Harry Kellerman? or Dick Tracy (not to mention Ishtar!). Hoffman shows that even in this early point in his career he is entirely capable of carrying a film by himself. Mainstream audiences might be put off by the dubbing or the low-budget production quality, but if nothing else it proves that Mr. Hoffman can make a Franco and Ciccio movie as well as Franco and Ciccio could have done! The scene where Hoffman plays both Fister and his enforcer "Red" is priceless and could have come from a Harry Langdon short at Columbia or Educational--high praise coming from a Langdon fan such as myself! Now, if only Alfredo, Alfredo will come out on video in the USA...
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