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1905, the cinematograph has reached Southern Italy, and casts fear among the people to whom it seems a devilish trick. They call it "o 'imbroglie din t'o lenzuolo" - "The Trick in the Sheet", as white sheets were used for screening.
Maria Grazia Cucinotta,
Woody Allen plays Tex, a kosher butcher. Sharon Stone plays his unfaithful wife Candy. Tex catches Candy in the act and in a fit of rage he kills her. To conceal his crime he cuts up her body and buries it in the desert in New Mexico. However, when her hand surfaces, a blind woman trips over it and it restores her sight. The hand is then considered to be the "hand of the Virgin." Despite the church's fallen priest objecting, the ambitious mayor of the town creates an international three-ring circus of miracle-seekers, TV crews, and born-again local prostitutes all interested in the hand. All of this goes on while Tex is desperately trying to recover the hand before the sheriff finds it and uses it as evidence against him. Written by
The bawdy, crass jokes and lowbrow humor employed in Bill Wilson's script work in his story about a kosher butcher who catches his unfaithful wife in the act and is driven to homicidal maniacal behavior. From the gags involving a permanently frozen hand with its middle finger extended, to the obvious dialog quips, this movie is highly entertaining, with Farrelly/Coen Brothers influences. The impressive cast executes all the silliness with great ease and skill. Woody Allen's characteristically droll performance makes an interesting backdrop against the film's New Mexico locale.
Despite the obvious nature of the story, Director Alfonso Arau's use of visual realism lends to it's contrasting irony. Arau's style is reminiscent of some of Mexico's better comedies celebrating the culture through humorous eyes.
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