Everybody Go Home!
- 2h 2min
When Italy surrenders to the Allies, part of the Italian army is dispersed and soldiers begin to return to their homes.When Italy surrenders to the Allies, part of the Italian army is dispersed and soldiers begin to return to their homes.When Italy surrenders to the Allies, part of the Italian army is dispersed and soldiers begin to return to their homes.
The international cast assembled for the film is comprised of Italians (Alberto Sordi, Nino Castelnuovo, Edoardo De Filippo, Carla Gravina), French (Serge Reggiani) and Americans (Martin Balsam, Alex Nicol); Nino Manfredi was originally intended for the role eventually played by Reggiani - but Sordi apparently objected to the idea of having two comic stars in the film! Still, in spite of Sordi's reputation, it's not an out-and-out comedy but rather a tragi-comedy about the chaos which pervaded Italy in the final days of WWII - with most of the soldiers eager to go back home by every possible means, regardless of the risk of their being arrested for desertion!
The scene in which Sordi's father (celebrated playwright De Filippo) contrives to have his war-weary son join the resurging Fascist Army as soon as he arrives home is a moving depiction of the elders' illusion of their country's glory and, at the same time, the children's disenchantment with their own parents. Despite their inherent self-preservation and egotism (exemplified by Sordi's escapade with a lusty merchant), the soldiers are bound together by solidarity - and, eventually joining the partisans, he gets to indulge in some machine-gun action at the very end.
A wonderful dramatic sequence involves Jewish Gravina being hounded by the Germans: with the help of Sordi and his company, she flees their pursuit on various means of transportation - but this actually leads to Castelnuovo's demise. Similarly poignant is the night-time conversation between U.S. refugee Nicol and Sordi at Balsam's house - which is interrupted by the arrival of the Fascists, who promptly arrest the two American actors (though Balsam is actually playing an Italian, as is Reggiani).
The film's comic highlight, then, sees the boys pilfering Reggiani's precious food parcel while he's asleep and substituting it with rocks (an incident which has a tragic outcome later on). Another episode which mixes farce with suspense is the one where Sordi and other escaping prisoners take refuge inside a church (the star hides in a confessional and, mistaken for the parish priest by an old lady, she starts relating her sins to him!).
Unfortunately, the print I watched of this gem was rather soft and hazy - and I'm wondering what the quality of the bare-bones Italian DVD is like...
- Apr 18, 2007