Be forewarned. This movie is what is called Italian Comedy. This was a particular brand of comedy made in the 1960’s and 1970’s in Italy. It’s got bite to it. For example, if The Hangover were an Italian Comedy they would have found the groom on the top of the hotel dead rather then alive at the end of the film. As Italy was gripped by terrorism in the 1970’s and 1980’s more traditional comedy returned.
However, back in 1962 Italian Comedy was taking off and this is one of the films that made it so popular. The movie is about a man named Roberto Mariani who is studying for an upcoming test when Bruno Cortona shows up in his sports car. From there, Roberto is taken on a whirl wind tour of the Italy outside his four walls. A place where he can relax for the first time in his life.
The two performances by Vittorio Gassman as Bruno and Jean-Louis Trintignant as Roberto are what make this film work so well. Gassman fills the screen with such vitality that you instantly love him and never stop smiling while he’s onscreen. Trintignant is perfect because he is tiny, very white, and in real life, French. This makes him the perfect stranger in Gassman’s swarthy Italian world.
I loved this movie!