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Detective Montalbano ( Il Commissario Montalbano ) is a film rendition of a classic series of detective novels written by Andrea Camilleri.
Our hero Salvo Montalbano, played by the excellent Luca Zingaretti, is a chief detective (Il Commissario) working in the province of Ragusta, Sicily, Italy. Salvo lives a single life, is a gourmet, and a long-distance swimmer with a beautiful ocean-front house.
Salvo is confronted with crimes that require his wits, stamina, and a the ability to deal with political and bureaucratic pressures to close cases " quickly " and without stepping on the wrong toes, unless of course, they belong to his subordinates.
He manages to somehow accomplish this and also maintain a relationship with his distant and " long-suffering " girlfriend, Livia, living on the mainland in Genoa ( not counting the beautiful women he encounters on-duty in Sicily ).
I first saw episodes of this RAI program in Germany where it remains very popular, and began buying the Camilleri novels in the US. I also started collecting the 18 volume DVD collection, which are available from the EBAY Italia website. MHz Television in Virginia, deserves a big credit for introducing the Detective Montalbano series to North America with English subtitles, although the Mhz film quality is somewhat grainy and less colorful when compared to the original DVD.
The original novels jump between Italian, Siciliano, and a mix of both. The films make good use of the mainland Italian detectives assigned to Ragusa having to contend with the local police staff language and Sicilian customs. As mentioned in the review above, Catarella, a local officer at the front desk is enjoyable when both confronted by, and confusing to, Salvo Montalbano.
If you have been to Sicily, or plan on visiting someday, you will enjoy this series by RAI. Highly recommended !
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