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Il Bidone (1955)

Il bidone (original title)
Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama | October 1962 (USA)
A trio of con-men lead by a lonesome swindler must deal with their job and family pressures.

Director:

Federico Fellini
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Broderick Crawford ... Augusto
Giulietta Masina ... Iris
Richard Basehart ... Raul detto Picasso
Franco Fabrizi ... Roberto
Sue Ellen Blake Sue Ellen Blake ... Anna
Irene Cefaro Irene Cefaro ... Marisa
Alberto De Amicis Alberto De Amicis ... Rinaldo
Lorella De Luca ... Patrizia
Giacomo Gabrielli Giacomo Gabrielli ... Il Baron Vargas
Riccardo Garrone ... Riccardo
Paul Grenter Paul Grenter
Emilio Manfredi Emilio Manfredi
Lucetta Muratori Lucetta Muratori
Mario Passante ... Conman
Sara Simoni Sara Simoni
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Storyline

Aging small-time con man Augusto, who swindles peasants, works with two younger men: Roberto, who wants to become the Italian Johnny Ray, and Bruno, nicknamed Picasso, who has a wife and daughter and wants to paint. Augusto avoids the personal entanglements, spending money at clubs seeking the good life. His attitude changes when he runs into his own daughter, whom he rarely sees, and realizes she's now a young woman and in need of his help to continue her studies. His usual partners are away, so he goes in with others to run a swindle, and they aren't forgiving when he claims he's given the money back to their mark. They leave him beaten, robbed, and alone. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Italy | France

Language:

Italian

Release Date:

October 1962 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Il Bidone See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (original)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Nino Rota subsequently reused a fanfare from the musical score for this film in Fortunella (1958). See more »

Goofs

When Augusto and his daughter are sitting in the open-air café, the watch he is giving to his daughter jumps from his hand to on her wrist immediately. See more »

Quotes

Augusto: [Contemptuously] You give your wife every cent! Jerk!
Picasso: [Trying to get approval] But, Augusto, I...
Augusto: [Lecturing] People like us can't have families. One must be free to move. You can't have a wife. You must be alone. The most important thing when you're young is freedom. It's more important thn the air you breathe. You're scared now! What will you do when you're my age?
See more »

Alternate Versions

The DVD released by Image Entertainment in 2001 is 91 minutes. A 114-minute print of the film is circulating art houses and festivals (2003). See more »

Connections

Edited into Histoire(s) du cinéma: La monnaie de l'absolu (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

 
'Forgotten' Fellini is unforgettable.
10 January 2011 | by tim-764-291856See all my reviews

Though I'd seen Il Bidone many years ago on TV, I didn't realise it was a Fellini film until the internet joined the dots between film titles and synopsises. I always did remember its starkness, its raw beauty and its redemptive narrative - and at last I bought the DVD and was reunited with this minor classic.

This is where the re-watch proved its worth - the multi-layers of post- war Italian society; its Catholicism fighting at odds with poverty and corruption. The characters interweave their human stories to take us on various personal journeys. Fellini's attempt to include American actors as the male leads, dubbed, fooled me - the oft drawling Broderick Crawford seemed perfect as the guilt-weary protagonist (aka The Swindler) who in actuality was often drunk on set.

For me, the audacious nature of the Swindlers in action, abusing the Catholic position of power by posing as high clergy and conning penniless peasants was bold; certainly for its time. Re-watching brought the trademark Fellini wild party in full swing - as wild and spirited as any he's staged - all rather sickened and over-the-top; portrayed as being funded by immoral, criminal money and in total pursuit of power and hedonism. The ending is one of those that etches itself into your psyche, both haunting and provocative.

However, unlike most 'popular' Fellini films, the leads aren't that likable and one doesn't rally with them in the way of, say, Cabiria or La Strada. That maybe explains why this Fellini isn't generally known, or loved. It's actually rather closer to La Dolce Vita in tone and could be seen as a precursor to that classic.

Il Bidone isn't the easiest film to watch and has its faults; a jarring narrative and inconsistencies that one accepts from amateur crowds on location. But this does add up to a naturally buzzing and strident film, balanced by occasional poignant moments of tenderness as consciences are so sorely pricked, it's heartbreaking.

So, if you're into Fellini, don't let this one pass you by. The director is in his prime here, as voyeur and narrator rather than the self-satisfied but still genius of his indulgent 8 and a half.


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