Marcello Mastroianni plays a Chaplinesque mandolin player complete with curly hair, funny moustache and silly walk. In order to pay off his fathers gambling debts, he agrees to play a serenade under somebody's window in the middle of the night. Soon he is surrounded by dead bodies and has to figure out who is behind this plot before he is either jailed or thrown out of a window himself. Other suspects include Ornella Muti as a nurse from a mental hospital, Michel Piccoli as a famous conductor and Zeudi Araya as his flirtatious wife.
If this is supposed to be a comedy it literally falls flat. The sight of people repeatedly falling out of windows is not very funny and neither is the completely over the top gangster character in a fur coat. Only Renato Pozzetto as a police inspector who seems to have graduated from the Inspector Clouseau Academy of clumsiness (with a degree in Chief Inspector Dreyfus self-mutilation) manages to conjure up some laughs, but his part does not amount to much.
Director Sergio Corbucci does make the most of the beautiful Napoli scenery but the story takes too many different twists and turns. Particularly unnerving is a scene in which Marcello (in drag) starts to make out with Ornella Muti (who is more than 30 years his junior). A more suitable love interest for him would have been Capucine, who is waisted in the small part of a nun. Eventually the plot becomes so confusing that it takes about twenty minutes of talky exposition scenes to clear everything up.
4 out of 10
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