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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Benigni's best film and performance but unfortunately unavailable in
the North American NTSC video format. Walter Matthau plays a priest
visiting the Vatican who is called upon by church officials to exorcise
an unknown demon from a local fat woman.
Once the demon is expelled, Matthau hears a racket in a nearby closet only to discover Benigni who proclaims himself to be (paraphrasing), "the disgusting thing you (Matthau) exorcised from the fat woman."
His first time out of Hell, Benigni is a devil who is naive and curiously tests the world, discovering many of the mundane little joys of living that we all take for granted. All of this is observed with arm's-length curiosity by Matthau who inadvertently brought this fool- of-a-devil into our world.
This great film is in the vein of the lost art of Chaplin and Keaton, approaches and perhaps equals those almost-forgotten cinema artists. If all you can find is a copy in Italian, seek out an interpreter any way you can. You and the interpreter will thank each other afterword.
A unique and very worthwhile piece of artistry.
P.S. In 2011, I translated this film and put the subtitles into .srt format. srt subtitles can be loaded into Video Lan Player (free download). Now, if you can find a digital copy of the film, you can use the English subtitles. Search for Il_Piccolo_Diavolo The_Little_Devil.srt Enjoy.
Actually, when this film was in Norway, it was in English, and I have always believed it was it's original language. Once i owned a VHS copy of the film in English as well, but somehow it disappeared during relocating. But I agree with people saying this is Benignis most funny film ever, not necessary his best. No other films I've seen with him gives him so much freedom to show his comical ability throughout the entire movie. And the chemistry with him and Mattau is magnificent. Bracchi is beautiful as ever and some of the scenes makes you laugh so much that it really hurts in your stomach. I know it's out on DVD in Italy, but unfortunately without English subtitles. But there has to be someone out there knowing more about the English version than I do.
I've seen ( rented ) this movie in VHS with English voice and Norwegian subtitles a few years back. Been searching for it now for a long time without any success. The film is one of the funniest I've ever seen. It seems to me that the distributor is missing a fine turnover by not releasing the film in DVD. Id be grateful for any tips where to get this movie in English, in Italian I will miss the finer meaning of the words unfortunately. Benigni is one of the most talented film-makers around, I enjoy his work both in front of and in the back of the camera. This is what I wanted to say, however the silly rule is that one have to write at least 10 lines so the last words are nothing but some fill-up to achieve the 10 lines
You don't have to be an Italian to appreciate the humor, but it's certainly an advantage if you understand Italian... Needless to say, Benigni is funny enough even WITHOUT words; and contrasted with the dry, serious priest (Matthau is brilliant here) he appears more absurd than ever. Who but Benigni could play the part of the devil so convincingly, with such comic innocence and enthusiasm? Who but Walter Matthau could capture so perfectly the mood of the cynical, dry-humoured priest? In this light-hearted film, there is nothing predictable except, perhaps, for the odd friendship that springs up between the two men - and that, with this unbeatable team, you are in for some hilarious moments. A film worth seeing again and again !!!
It's crazy, it's hilarious, it's grotesque and it's at least pure fun. The combination of Matthau's stoical yet strained mimics with Benigni's clownesque and provocative acting is one of the most surprising comedies from Italy ever. But it's not just pure comedy, it's definitely a satiric assault on religion, social behaviour and some more holy cows. Even more, it's incredible, how Matthau and Benigni are acting - and interacting. I'll bet that you've never seen Matthau look closer to desperation since The Odd Couple. And Lemmon was a sheer blessing compared to what he is confronted with here. And I still wonder how they ever managed to produce this movie. Anyway, catch this devil if you can, you won't regret it!
My wife Dani turned me on to this film and it has to be one of the funniest films I've ever seen in my life! The shame is that it is so difficult to find ....we only managed to find a rental copy in Curitiba, Brasil and a German language version via Amazon.com.de (Germany). Why is it that the US and UK distributors do not carry it? We think that it is his best film and by the way, one of Walter Matthau's finest and funniest performances!
Saw it at the Rialto theatre in Montreal in the early 90's...in English. I read somewhere that the original actors did an English dub of the film...why that isn't available I do not know. This movie is a 10 - funny as hell but there is also a strong message about what you would think the Devil would know (but he doesn't) and the role of religion in modern day thinking. Walter Mathieu is terrific; and Begnini is hilarious...given carte Blanche to use his comedic sense and physical comedy. Crass at times but not Adam Sandler like but somehow still with class. If anyone finds an English version, please post where. Cheers
I have seen this classic in Greece in English un-dubbed seemingly. I
have been trying to find a copy for years. If anyone has news I would
It is indeed likely the funniest film I've ever seen and far superior to much of RB's other work. Perhaps the language problems I've read of herein explain the failure of Netflix to carry it.
As for Matthau, I've never liked him personally, but in this he is uproariously droll.
Any news in tracking this film we be greatly thanked.
I saw this movie years ago in Europe. It has not been distributed in the U.S., but it should be. It is very funny, with Roberto Benigni and Walter Mathau together, some scenes are hilarious. If you like Roberto Benigni then pray that this movie comes out on video in the U.S. soon!!!
If you enjoyed other Benigni's works, this movie is your start point to Benigni's world. The story: A little Devil escapes from hell and, after an exorcism, becomes friend of a priest (Walter Matthau). He is only 400 years old and knows nothing about world, sex and so on. Thousands of gags and the little melancholy you can find in "life is beautiful" and "the monster".
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