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Big Deal on Madonna Street

1958 [ITALIAN]

Comedy / Crime

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN

Top cast

Claudia Cardinale Photo
Claudia Cardinale as Carmelina Nicosia
Marcello Mastroianni Photo
Marcello Mastroianni as Tiberio Braschi
Vittorio Gassman Photo
Vittorio Gassman as Giuseppe 'Peppe er Pantera' Baiocchi
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
974.09 MB
Italian 2.0
24 fps
1 hr 46 min
P/S 11 / 21
1.77 GB
Italian 2.0
24 fps
1 hr 46 min
P/S 9 / 39

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by lee_eisenberg9 / 10

Italy's clumsy heist

One day, there's gonna have to be a festival for heist-themed movies. "The Killing", "Topkapi", "The Italian Job", "The Bank Job" and the Ocean franchise are obvious entries, but Mario Monicelli's Academy Award-nominated "Big Deal on Madonna Street" ("I soliti ignoti" in the original Italian) also needs to be in there. Unlike most of the heist-themed movies - either lighthearted comedies or film noirs - this one is a farce. Basically, all sorts of mishaps befall the criminals in the process of the planning and execution. Talk about commedia dell'arte!

This strikes me as one movie that they had a lot of fun filming, and I highly recommend it. Don't listen to anyone who's not interested in watching old movies/black and white movies/foreign movies. If ever there were one of those movies that you have to see, it's this one. It's a mamma mia of the best type!

Reviewed by jotix10010 / 10

Small time crooks

Cosimo, a small time criminal in Rome, decides to steal a car one night. He is too inept to get the job done, attracting the attention of the patrolling police. Landing in jail, Cosimo hears of a possibility for a caper, the only problem is, he still has to serve his time. With the help of his friends, a search for a man to come forward to confess to the actual crime would clear Cosimo. After asking around, without much success, Peppe, another street hustler, and womanizer, decides to do it for the money. Unfortunately, he ends up in jail and Cosimo too. Jail time proves to be an opportunity for Peppe to learn about the caper Cosimo has been so carefully planning.

When Peppe is released, he looks for the men that would have been involved with Cosimo in the original plan. They include an assortment of petty street criminals who have no experience in how to go about doing the job. Enter Dante, a master safe cracker, who for money, will teach the gang how to open the safe at one of Rome's pawn shops. The only problem with the plan, Dante will not participate, thus leaving everything to Peppe and the gang.

Peppe, who has met Nicoletta, the niece of the occupants of the apartment he thought was empty, has a short romance with the woman, from whom he learns when will the two old ladies be away. Involved in the gang is Mario, who discovers the beautiful Carmelina, sister of Ferribotti, a Sicilian man who is guarding her chaste for a possible good marriage. There is Tiberio, a photographer, whose wife is serving jail time and he is now taking care of his infant son. Campanelle, an inept older man who is always hungry, completes the gang.

When the big night for the heist arrives, everything that could gone wrong, and more, is what happens. The men have absolutely no clue as to what to do, therefore, their plan will never be put in action. At the end, the gang come out empty handed, not before Campanelle discovers a pot of pasta and chick peas, which he praises to the others, who soon share the dish with him, agreeing how delicious it was.

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.

Reviewed by rmax3048238 / 10

Very funny caper movie.

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.

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