Big Deal on Madonna Street (1958) DVDRip Eng Sub (SiRiUs sHaRe).avi (Size: 700.92 MB) (Files: 4)
Big Deal on Madonna Street (1958) DVDRip Eng Sub (SiRiUs sHaRe).avi
Big Deal on Madonna Street (1958) DVDRip Eng Sub (SiRiUs sHaRe).sub
Big Deal on Madonna Street (1958).rtf
Big Deal on Madonna Street a.k.a. I Soliti ignoti (1958)
Peppe, formerly a boxer, organizes the break-in of a pawnshop. Tiberio, an unemployed photographer, Mario, a receiver, the Sicilian Michele and Capannelle, an ex-jockey, are the other members of the gang. Though they are advised by Dante, a retired burglar, the task is not so easy...
Vittorio Gassman ... Peppe il pantera
Renato Salvatori ... Mario Angeletti
Memmo Carotenuto ... Cosimo
Rosanna Rory ... Norma (as Rossana Rory)
Carla Gravina ... Nicoletta
Claudia Cardinale ... Carmelina
Carlo Pisacane ... Capannelle
Tiberio Murgia ... Michele Ferribotte
Gina Rovere ... Teresa, wife of Tiberio
Gina Amendola ... Nerina, mother of Mario
Elvira Tonelli ... Assunta
Elena Fabrizi ... Signora Ada (as Elisa Fabrizi)
Pasquale Misiano ... Massimo
Renato Terra ... Eladio
Aldo Trifiletti ... Fernando, doorkeeper
I suspect that it's hard to find this gem for rental purposes, which is a shame. A take-off on the classic French film noir, Rififi, it stands up wonderfully and deserves greater recognition. Monicelli is too little known as a director in the US, I think. Louis Malle attempted a remake of this some years back, to disastrous effect, and now there's a new attempt out, called "Welcome to Collinswood"; my hunch is that, while it might be better than the Malle version, it won't match the original. A group of bumbling small-time thieves plan and try to execute a heist, but nothing goes right. As the gang's leader, a punchy boxer with more attitude than ability, Vittorio Gassmann is wonderful, as is everyone else in the cast. Special notice should be given to the marvelous character comedian, Toto, and--in a small role, buried well down in the credits, the young Marcello Mastroianni. Also featured is another youngster, Claudia Cardinale. If you've seen Rififi, you'll find this comedy a particular joy. If you haven't, you'll like it, anyway.
Mario Monicelli, the director, who also collaborated with the screen play, seemed to be doing a funny take off on the more serious "Rififi", directed by Jules Dassin. That's where the comparison ends. Mr. Monicelli was more interesting in capitalizing in the comic aspects of a serious caper with a bunch of lunatics that have no clue what they really want. The result is one of the best movies of the fifties. The director was blessed in bringing together some of the best of the Italian cinema of the era.
The wonderful Vittorio Gassman is Peppe, the man in charge of the caper. This legendary actor was at a great moment of his career, and although his character is not a serious one, he runs away with the film because he clearly understood what made Peppe tick. Toto, another magnificent actor plays Dante, who knows a thing, or two, about how to crack a safe. Renato Salvatori makes a good impression as Mario, who discovers he is in love with Carmelina. Marcello Mastroianni has a small role here, as Tiberio, the man with a wife in jail who must bring the infant son to all the gang meetings. Carlo Pisacane has some excellent moments as Campanelle. The same goes for Tiberio Murgia who as Ferribotte wants to protect his sister from all his male friends.
The women in the film have lesser roles to play, but they clearly show they understood the material well. Carla Gravina makes a great Nicoletta. Claudia Cardinali appears as Carmelina, and lastly, Rosanna Rory is seen as Norma, Cosimo's girlfriend.
The DVD we recently watched has been carefully transferred and looks as good as when the film was released. It helps that Monicelli employed cinematographer Gianni DiVenzano to capture his story in black and white. The jazzy score by Piero Umiliani goes along well with the action. Mario Monicelli directed with an eye for the picaresque in a film that is imitated, but never equaled.
An ensemble movie with multiple minor stories built around the main theme of a big heist on Madonna Street. Half a dozen or so hapless crooks decide to apply "scientific methods" to their plan to sneak through coal chutes and over rooftops into a vacant apartment. They will then use a car jack to break through a wall into the office next door where a fortune is stashed away in a safe. That's about as far as medical discretion will allow me to go in revealing the plot.
There have been many carefully planned caper movies, before and after this one, like "The Asphalt Jungle." Some have even been turned into comedies, like Woody Allan's "Small Time Crooks." But this was one of the first I'm aware of that turned the caper movie into a ridiculous farce.
I think I'll give one example of the kind of gags you can expect, to illustrate the style. To get to the vacant apartment the thieves must tiptoe across a skylight in the middle of the night and climb through a window on the other side. They are slipping along the metal framework, cursing each other, when suddenly blinding lights go on in the room underneath them and they must throw themselves flat on the glass to avoid detection. A young couple enter the room below and begin a loud argument about whether she really loves him and whether he's been unfaithful to her. The accusations are shouted back and forth, while 10 feet above them the immobilized gang alternately doze and gesture impatiently at one another as their carefully plotted timetable is all shot to hell.
Well, alright, one more. One of the gang, a master photographer, Marcello Maistroianni, is assigned to make a movie of the opening of the safe, shooting from across the rooftops through an open window, so the combination will be registered on film. The gang watch the resulting film and moan while pairs of underpants on a clothesline drift across the office window and there are inserts of the photographer's baby crying. At the moment the combination is to be revealed the film stutters and slips off its sprockets.
I can't help it. Stop me before I describe more. Okay -- last one. Two men have an argument in which a knife is produced. They fling angry insults back and forth, and one of them departs, slamming the wooden door behind him. The remaining man sneers at the door and hurls the knife at it. The knife doesn't stick, it bounces off.
It's really impossible to recommend this too highly. What a lot of fun.
The caper or heist film is surely the second most universally popular subset of the crime genre after the murder mystery, and I wonder if it was ever more in vogue, and more interesting artistically, than in the years after the huge success of Grisbi and Rififi. The late 50s and early 60s saw Melville's Bob le Flambeur, Topkapi, the early Pink Panther movies, and this fine neo-realist/comic effort from Monicelli, a director I've not heretofore been familiar with.
It's a rather odd film, with many shifts in tone and a rambling plot that really doesn't coalesce into anything approaching the crime story you might expect until about halfway through. A group of small-time crooks and ex-cons, among them Peppe (Vittorio Gassman), Dante (Toto), and Tiberio (Marcello Mastroianni) hit upon a plan to rob a pawnbroker's safe by going through the wall of a neighboring apartment while the tenants are away; but they are clearly so incompetent and half-hearted about the whole thing that we never really believe they're going to get anywhere with their plans. The real drama to the story lies in wondering just when and how they'll get caught and who will go to jail; the real miracle will be if they get away without losing anything, let alone winning through.
It's a portrait of a still desperately poor Italy just a few years after the war....there are still old, war-torn, decrepit buildings everywhere and the new ones we see going up are as ugly as anything being built in Poland at the time....everybody seems to know someone in prison or be a parolee him/herself.....so the comedy has a sombre edge to it, despite the presence of the farcical Toto, and the young and garrulous Mastroianni. Look for a very young Claudia Cardinale in a small role as well. Beautifully shot in a low-rent way in B/W by Gianni di Venanzo.
* "Big Deal on Madonna Street" was the inspiration for the 1986 Broadway Musical "Big Deal" by Bob Fosse. Bob Fosse was inspired by other classic Italian films for his musical repertoire including Fellini's "Nights of Cabiria" and "8 1/2," the basis for "Sweet Charity" and "Nine" respectively.
* Premiere voted this movie as one of "The 50 Greatest Comedies Of All Time" in 2006.
* At the beginning of the project, Producer Grimaldi didn't want Vittorio Gassman to play his role because he was considered too beautiful and elegant to act like a loser boxer. Gassman acted with very strong make up, included a fake nose, to fill Grimaldi's requests.
* Mario Monicelli wanted to call its movie "Le Madame", and only in a second moment changed it into "I Soliti Ignoti" (Usual Unknowns). Le Madame is an Italian slang for Policemen.