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The first half of 'L'Emigrante' seems to be a homage to Chaplin's 'The Immigrant'. It even starts in black and white with a small boy watching his father board a ship to America. Years later, all grown up and in colour, Pippolo Cavallo (Adriano Celentano) takes the same route (dressed as a woman) to search for his father and begin a new life (not to mention avoid the draft). You would think the second half is a nod to 'The Godfather Part Two', if this one had not come out a year earlier.
The film boasts impressive production values including authentic looking costumes and locations. Numerous Italian folk songs also help to transport us to Little Italy of a century ago. Still our hero has to sleep in the park after failing at all sorts of odd jobs like shoe shine boy, waiter, paperboy and coroner. A running gag involves Sybil Danning as a drunk socialite who has the hots for Pippolo, but he only has eyes for Rosita Flores (Claudia Mori), an Italian folk singer whom he met on the way to America.
After a string of silly situations in the first half of the film, the comedy makes way for more serious themes and plot twists when Pippolo gets into a life of crime and starts to learn more about his father. Adriano Celentano certainly proves that he can play more than the loudmouth, selfimportant characters that would become the staple of his career. Just when you thought the film has become a straight drama, the sillyness returns for the final sequence.
6 out of 10
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