A trio of con-men led by a lonesome swindler must deal with their job and family pressures.A trio of con-men led by a lonesome swindler must deal with their job and family pressures.A trio of con-men led by a lonesome swindler must deal with their job and family pressures.
Fellini was a director that got a lot from his actors, as he shows in "Il Bidone". Working with Broderick Crawford, and again with Richard Basehart, he was able to have both men give excellent performances, especially Mr. Crawford, who looks as though he is nothing but Italian because he convinces us he is the hard man he is portraying.
The three friends, Augusto, Picasso, and Roberto, go from one scheme to the next, never thinking about who are they stealing from. The best caper occurs at the beginning of the film as the trio arrives at the farm of the two older women with the promise of riches hidden in their land. Mr. Crawford's bishop is perfect. So is the assistant priest of Richard Basehart. Franco Fabrizi is the driver. The solution for getting the money away from the poor women is something not to be believed.
Augusto's life is an empty one. He goes from one job to another trying to outsmart his victims. It's not until Augusto meets his daughter Patrizia by chance, that he begins to feel what might be some remorse for his actions as he notices his beautiful daughter now grown and on her way to making something out of her life. His conscience begins to bother him because he realizes the evil of his ways.
The other best sequence in the film involves the party at Vargas' house where the swindlers have been invited to celebrate the arrival of the new year. We watch as Iris, Picasso's wife, realizes what her husband and the others are really up to. Roberto, the ladies' man, steals the gold cigarette case, not realizing that he is at the home of another con man and his actions will not go unnoticed, but even the embarrassment he goes through in front of the guests will make him give up his life.
"Il Bidone" is a fine example of the Italian cinema of those years as it shows an artist of the caliber of Federico Fellini in top form. The film will delight people that haven't been exposed to that part of Mr. Fellini's career seldom seen these days.
- Dec 21, 2005