RARE & UNFORGETTABLE ARTHOUSE FILMS FROM AROUND THE WORLD 1944-1965
FRI—MON, MAY 13—16 · ROXIE THEATRE
Presented by Mid-Century Productions
SUNDAY MATINEE, MAY 15TOTO & FERNANDEL: FORGOTTEN COMIC MASTERS
RISATE DI GIOIA / THE PASSIONATE THIEF 1:30
The anarchy of New Year's Eve is the backdrop for this tart comedy reuniting Anna Magnani and Totó (old friends who starred together on stage in the years immediately preceding World War II). Magnani is Gioia (aka Tortorella), an extra who finds herself crashing the parties of the rich and famous while unaware that she is the foil for an aging con man (Totó) and a volatile thief (Ben Gazzara) who have what might best be called an "accelerated acquisition plan" for getting rich before dawn. Veteran director Monicelli and screenwriter Furio Scarpelli were old hands with Totó and gently guide Italy's aging "king of comedy" into a uniquely poignant performance.
Dir. Mario Monicelli (1960, 106 min.)
LE MOUTON À CINQ PATTES / THE SHEEP HAS FIVE LEGS 3:30
The impossibly toothy Fernandel was an institution in France from the 30s to the 60s and here he plays six different roles (quintuplets sought for a reunion in order to raise money for their destitute, dyspeptic father—also played by the man with the blinding smile). Director Verneuil, best known for his crime dramas (including UNE MANCHE ET LA BELLE aka KISS FOR A KILLER, the runaway hit of THE FRENCH HAD A NAME FOR IT) channels the great American director Preston Sturges, creating an atmospheric string of episodes that play seamlessly thanks to the always-obliging Fernandel, a great actor lurking inside a hammy comedian.
Dir. Henri Verneuil (1954,104 min.)