“Are we going through with this job or not?”
A group of inept thieves — including a boxer (Vittorio Gassman), a ladies’ man (Renato Salvatori), a safecracker (Totò), a Sicilian (Tiberio Murga) who keeps his chaste sister (Claudia Cardinale) locked away, and a photographer (Marcello Mastroianni) caring for his young son — attempt to carry out a heist but find their plans continually foiled.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Claudia Cardinale Films
- Italian Films
- Marcello Mastroianni Films
- Satires and Spoofs
This comedic caper flick by Italian director Mario Monicello — a spoof of Jules Dassin’s Rififi (1955) — shows exactly how many things can go wrong (and will) when a group of bumbling crooks attempt to pull off a heist they’re so clearly incapable of.
Running throughout the featherweight screenplay are two would-be romances. Salvatori is interested in Cardinale:
… while Gassman woos a beautiful young woman (Carla Gravina) working as a maid for the elderly women who live next door to the joint they want to break into.
Meanwhile, Mastroianni takes loving care of his squalling toddler, whose mom is in prison for smuggling cigarettes.
Do the bungling thieves get away with their heist? (Your first guess is probably the correct one.) I’m sure audiences at the time enjoyed this type of escapist fare, but it’s not must-see viewing for modern film fanatics — unless you happen to have a specific interest in Italian cinema.
Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:
- Gianni de Venanzo’s atmospheric cinematography
- Good use of neorealist sets
No, though it’s worth checking out if you’re curious. Listed as a film with Historical Importance in the back of Peary’s book.