Big Deal on Madonna Street

1958. Directed by Mario Monicelli.

THE SHOT: A ragtag group of lovable screwups plots a less-than-ingenious heist of a pawnbroker’s safe.

TONE: Charming, roguish humor, humming with a wise and witty stance on human life.

Heat it is not.  The gang is unprofessional in the extreme.  On the one hand, they don’t have a clue as to what they’re doing.  On the other hand, it does not turn out that one of the gang is a trigger-happy psychopath.  The love stories woven into the plot seem natural and revealing of character, instead of being shoehorned in.  The comedy is easy, organic and human in scale.

The back of the box says that this is a satire of Rififi and its ilk.  Satire it’s not.  It’s warm, affectionate and bittersweet and requires no special knowledge of those films to enjoy.

DOES CRIME PAY?  Well….no.

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One Response to “Big Deal on Madonna Street”
  1. craigjclark says:

    In case you’re curious, this movie also begat a sequel creatively called Big Deal on Madonna Street: 20 Years Later. I say creatively because it was made nearly 30 years later.

    As for the misuse of the word “satire,” I blame Mad Magazine.