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Hot Potato (1979)

La patata bollente (original title)
A factory worker known for his tough attitude and for fighting for workers' rights starts losing credibility when friends and co-workers see him helping a young gay man.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Renato Pozzetto ...
Bernardo Mambelli, detto 'Il Gandhi'
Massimo Ranieri ...
Mario Scarpetta ...
Clara Colosimo ...
Sergio Ciulli ...
Adriana Russo ...
Amica di Maria
Luca Sportelli ...
Loris Bazzocchi ...
Dario Ghirardi
Margherita Giacomelli
Emilio Leoni
Nazzareno Natale ...
Umberto Raho ...
Il dottore
Enzo Rossi


A factory worker known for his tough attitude and for fighting for workers' rights starts losing credibility when friends and co-workers see him helping a young gay man.

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Release Date:

16 November 1979 (Italy)  »

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Hot Potato  »

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User Reviews

Bolshevism and homosexuality don't mix
30 October 2005 | by (Rijswijk, ZH, Netherlands) – See all my reviews

Renato Pozzetto plays Bernardo Mambelli, also known as Gandhi, an ex-boxer now working in some kind of paint factory. Edwige Fenech is his lunch lady love Maria, which is a bit of a surprise since she usually plays higher educated characters. Gandhi is also a devoted communist and often sticks up for his fellow worker, opening up the possibility of him becoming a union leader. One night he saves young Claudio (Massimo Ranieri) from a beating by a group of fascist bikers and takes him home to nurse his wounds. Claudio promptly phones his boyfriend to break up with him. Of course this leads to about 70 minutes of gay mistakes by the nosy landlady, the girlfriend and the co- workers.

When Claudio goes back to his home/work, the so called 'Alternative Library', it is almost immediately burned down by those hateful bikers. So it's back to Gandi's Marxist shrine (nobody mentions where the other, even gayer librarians went). The bikers spray slanderous graffiti on the wall at the factory and that's the last we hear of them. However to the factory workers comrade Gandhi is still a hero, since his demands for better vents have gone through.

In a totally out of the blue twist of fate, our heroic commie is offered a trip to (what was then called) Leningrad. Surprisingly, he takes neither Maria nor Claudio with him and the whole side trip is only implied by way of a couple of cheap postcards and souvenirs. It turns out to be just an excuse for the gay character to do what is expected of him at home: redecorate the entire place. This culminates in a battle of affection between Claudio and Maria and some more embarrassing moments for Renato Pozzetto. From here on the twists and turns start getting more absurd and confusing, but at least they move so fast you won't notice a couple of sub plots being left unresolved.

This is one of those strange Renato Pozzetto comedies where he seems to be making some sort of statement, but exactly what remains unclear. For a comedy with such easily offensive subjects, it manages to remain on relatively safe ground, never being too nasty to homosexuals nor too pro-communist (though the secondary gay characters are the usual over the top limp-wristed fruitcakes). Unfortunately nothing very spectacular or memorable happens in the film, although Edwige reprises her awkward amateur strip tease from "Taxi Girl". Still, the love triangle between the three leads never catches fire, mainly because Renato remains rather uninterested in both Maria and Massimo.

6 out of 10

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