In a village of the Po valley where the earth is hard and life miserly, the priest and the communist mayor are always fighting to be the head of the community. If in secret, they admired and liked each other, politics still divided them as it is dividing the country. And when the mayor wants his "People's House"; the priest wants his "Garden City" for the poor. Division exist between the richest and the poorest, the pious and the atheists and even between lovers. But if the people are as hard as the country, they are good in the bottom of their heart.Written by
Jean-Marie Berthiaume <email@example.com>
French comic actor Fernandel embodied the title role while remarkable Italian character actor Gino Cervi played his spiritual and political opponent. More than a rustic comedy, the film epitomizes the postwar political polarization in Italy and symbolizes the famous "compromesso storico"---historical compromise---under which Italy would long continue to be governed. This successful film spawned a series of popular sequels, mostly with the same two actors, all based on the Giovanni Guareschi novels. A point of clarification: this was a French-Italian co-production and was first released in the U.S. in its French-language version with English subtitles before the dubbed English version with narrator Orson Welles went into circulation. The Italian-language version, not readily available, is the most appropriate one.
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