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I soliti ignoti

Commedia all'italiana | Feature
D Mario Monicelli | Italy, 1958
L Italian
Tags: 35 mm, Auteur, Black and White, Celluloid, Comedy, Crime, Drama, Heist, Retrospective

"One of the funniest heist spoofs ever made." – Criterion Collection

Desperate for money, a gang of small-time criminals attempt to rob a jeweller's safe. Their plans are intricate, and they have an experienced burglar on hand for advice. It's surely a fail-safe plan?

Starring Vittorio Gassman and Claudia Cardinale, Mario Monicelli's classic slapstick farce is both parody – French thriller Rififi is a major inspiration – and exercise in gentle humanism. A landmark of the crime-caper genre, it was one of the first to modulate its neorealism with comedy and in doing so it was hugely influential: in addition to kickstarting the commedia all'italiana genre, it's also been re-made a couple of times, as Crackers by Louis Malle and as Welcome to Collinwood by Anthony and Joe Russo.

Big Deal on Madonna Street is also notable for featuring a relatively early turn by one of the greatest Italian actors of all, Marcello Mastroianni.

"There's genuine wit, numerous great visual gags, humor both broad and subtle, things that you might only pick up on after the second go-round, and a thoroughly winsome fondness for its hard-pressed protagonists." – Criterion Reflections

For further information on Big Deal on Madonna Street, read the Senses of Cinema dossier.

D Mario Monicelli P Franco Cristaldi S Age & Scarpelli, Suso Cecchi d'Amico, Mario Monicelli WS Cristaldi Film L Italian w/English subtitles TD 35mm/1958

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