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Run Time: 127 minutes
Another buddy-buddy film, "a l'Italiano" - that is lots of noise, macho swagger, babies, regrets, voluptuous nymphets and total confusion. In short, your basic Italian movie. Like Pietro Germi and Lina Wertmuller, Scola delights in exploring ethnic stereotypes; and he does so genially, with as much affection as dismay. The three pals of the film were anti-Fascist partisans during World War II. Thirty years later they're still nostalgic about their youthful idealism. Gianni (Vittorio Gassman) is a well-connected, prosperous lawyer who frets about his lost innocence. Antonio (Nino Manfredi) is a hospital orderly who likes his job and winds up - eventually - with luscious Stefania Sandrelli. The third crony, Nico (Stefano Satta Flores) is a professor whose obsession with cinema is so total that he loses his job and becomes a movie critic. Film freaks will enjoy the cinematic allusions lovingly interspersed throughout the story. There's a loony re-enactment of the famous baby carriage descent down the Odessa Steps from Sergei Eisenstein's "Potemkin" (1925). After a portion of Michelangelo Antonioni's depressing "Eclipse" (1962) is shown, a suitably "alienated" woman hangs a picture frame around an already framed picture in a parody/homage to Antonioni's visual style. There are also tributes to Vittorio De Sica's masterpiece "The Bicycle Thief" (1947) and other famous Italian movies. Then Federico Fellini himself is introduced to a police officer who's assisting with the celebrated Trevi Fountain episode in "La Dolce Vita" (1960), he expresses pleasure in shaking hands with the great Roberto Rossellini. Marcello Mastroianni also puts in a brief appearance. The rueful, bittersweet conclusion is "de rigueur" for Continental buddy films, but as critic Stanley Kauffmann has pointed out, the failure of Italy's postwar generation is hardly borne out by the movie itself.
Age, Scarpelli and Ettore Scola
Pio Angeletti and Adriano De Micheli
Nino Manfredi, Vittorio Gassman, Stefania Sandrelli, Stefano Satta Flores, Giovanna Ralli, Aldo Fabrizi, Federico Fellini, Marcello Mastroianni, Vittorio De Sica