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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Italian comedy
I Soliti Ignoti- I absolutely love this movie. It is one great italian comedy with a brilliant cast at its best in portraying the simplistic and realistic roles of petty criminals. Because of the nature of the characters and their ridiculous behaviour in the proceedings of their scheme to rob a pawnshop, the viewers won't be able to refrain from laughter and enjoy this...
Published on October 30, 2002 by doveseits

versus
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Humorous take on foibles of late 50s Italians
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Rating: 3.5 out of 5, 7.0 out of 10.0

What's the 'big deal' about 'Big Deal on Madonna Street?" Well, it's a pretty amusing take on Italian Society in the late 50s. Strong suits include a bevy of neat character types, a plot that moves along at a saucy pace (except perhaps for a bit of a draggy denouement) and...
Published on July 19, 2011 by Turfseer


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Italian comedy, October 30, 2002
By 
doveseits "doveseits" (New York, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Big Deal on Madonna Street (The Criterion Collection) (DVD)
I Soliti Ignoti- I absolutely love this movie. It is one great italian comedy with a brilliant cast at its best in portraying the simplistic and realistic roles of petty criminals. Because of the nature of the characters and their ridiculous behaviour in the proceedings of their scheme to rob a pawnshop, the viewers won't be able to refrain from laughter and enjoy this gang's hopeless adventure. For anyone who loves this movie as much as I do, I recommend to see its sequel made a year later by Nanni Loy: "Audace Colpo dei Soliti Ignoti", with only the absence of Mastroianni but the addition of Nino Manfredi- Sure it's not as great as the first, but having liked these characters so much it is natural that one would want to see them back in action with yet another "scientifically" schemed project along with all their mishaps as usual...and of course, a little more of the unfolding romance of the couple portrayed by Claudia Cardinale and Renato Salvatori. Unfortunately this movie will be hard to find, and it is without subtitles. (Do not confuse this with a third sequel made 20 yrs later which, by the way, I do not recommend at all.) For anyone who hasn't seen Big Deal On Madonna St, please do see it.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very big deal., August 26, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Big Deal on Madonna Street (The Criterion Collection) (DVD)
This Italian parody of Jules Dassin's *Rififi* turns out to be, after all is said and done, a better movie. Interestingly, it finally seems more original than Dassin's crime movie, despite its obvious mocking of Italian Neo-Realist pretensions AND the hard-bitten *Rififi* (itself a derivation of 1940's American film noirs). *Big Deal on Madonna Street* basically justifies director Mario Monicelli's career . . . at least in my eyes, for I've never much cared for most of his movies. His films have a very narrow interest, meaning, you really have to be Italian to "get" them. In *Big Deal*, Monicelli goes for something more universal with this spoof of the massively infuential French noir, and attains sundry brilliancies. Firstly, the characters are unforgettably individualized, with tics and situations that often turn the gangster archetype on its head. Marcello Mastroianni, for instance, is babysitting his infant while his WIFE serves a short term in jail for smuggling! And somehow the director manages to mock the post-War Italian cinema's unblinking view (a view which was monotonously repeated, starting with Rosselini's *Open City*) of the desperate plight of the country's working-class while AT THE SAME TIME carrying on most poignantly that tradition. For a comedy, there's a heck of a lot of dirty jails, dirty streets, and dirty people. The notion of a grand robbery -- a one-time "big score" -- is natural on these streets. The overall tone is light, but the grim realities are not hidden. This is not a "hilarious" comedy . . . at least until we get to the Big Caper, which is a smorgasbord of comic ineptness. I won't ruin it by describing it; see it for yourself. By the way, this movie was itself re-made (more or less) twice: Louis Malle tried to Americanize it in his *Crackers* (don't bother), and Woody Allen lightly essayed it just recently with his *Small-time Crooks*. Having praised *Big Deal on Madonna Street*, I will add the caveat that a prior knowledge of *Rififi* and Italian Neo-Realist cinema will enhance your enjoyment of the film. [I'm sorry to report that Criterion's DVD is, simply put, substandard. No features but a trailer, and the subtitles are poorly done, flashing on and off the screen like subliminal messages. As this is a later release (#113, I think), there are no excuses for the shoddiness. It's fair to expect excellence from Criterion, particularly because their products are so expensive. Oh well.]
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genuinely funny movie, May 4, 2002
By 
Westley (Stuck in my head) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Big Deal on Madonna Street (The Criterion Collection) (DVD)
This movie is a classic comedy burglar caper. A collection of small time hoods gather to rob a pawn shop. Along the way, everything that could go wrong does in pretty hilarious fashion.
As other reviewers have mentioned, Woody Allen's "Small Time Crooks" was clearly inspired by this film, so if you liked that one, you'll probably enjoy Madonna Street. I also agree with the problem with the subtitles flashing too quickly. All the more reason to try to get it on DVD - I found myself having to pause the frame just to read the subtitles. Despite this problem, this movie really is funny and enjoyable. Highly recommended.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Criterion release, but......., August 3, 2001
By 
Joren R. Cain (Valdosta, GA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Big Deal on Madonna Street (The Criterion Collection) (DVD)
I'm glad Criterion released this film, otherwise I probably never would have heard of it. Yes, it's a great comedy, but the few more serious moments are a nice contrast, and not too corny. With the music and visual gags, I thought Woody Allen was going to appear any second (watch this for influences on "Small Time Crooks"). The reason I am giving it 4 stars is not for the movie itself, but because of the subtitles. I hate to get picky or get dark on Criterion, but sometimes the subtitles flash on the screen without nearly enough to time to read them, and that just isn't necessary in most cases. Most often there would be enough time to keep them on the screen longer before another one comes up. Maybe it's not so bad, it'll just make me watch the movie again and try to catch a few more funny lines next time...Very enjoyable film!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So much better than "Welcome to Collinwood", November 27, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Big Deal on Madonna Street (The Criterion Collection) (DVD)
One of the best comedies ever made. A bumbling, utterly inept group of crooks resolve upon a seemingly simple heist. They fail in spectacular fashion. The scene in which Toto demonstrates the different methods for cracking a safe is unforgettably hilarious. A tour de force of casting, including Toto, Mastroianni, Gassman and Claudia Cardinale in her first major role.
As a shocked Italian media reported, "Welcome to Collinwood" is nothing more than a remake of this remarkable film. As is so often the case, the original far surpasses the remake.
Strange facts
#1 The actors play characters from all over Italy, yet almost none of them gets to play a character with an accent from the actor's own part of the country!
#2 Can you guess which of the principal actors was, in fact, a barista in the bar where the director used to go for his coffee?
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great Italian "dumb crook" Comedy, July 20, 2004
By 
Ted "Ted" (Pennsylvania, USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Big Deal on Madonna Street (The Criterion Collection) (DVD)
This Review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.

The original Italian title is "I Soliti Ignoti" which roughly translates to "The usual unidentified thieves"

Mario Monicelli has made a great film here. In this film, A band of inept and clumsy thieves attempt to break into a safe. Instead, they manage to drill through the wrong wall, and create various acts of mayhem. The film has many scenes in it which are very funny.

The DVD has a US theatrical trailer as a special feature.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Madcap petty criminal hijinks in postwar Italy, June 1, 2007
This review is from: Big Deal on Madonna Street (The Criterion Collection) (DVD)
Tall, handsome Vittorio Gassman stars as Peppe, the womanizing glass-jawed palooka who, along with several keystone criminals, stumblebum their way to...not much. Also featured in this comedy by Italian film legend Mario Monicelli are Marcello Mastroianni and Claudia Cardinale, who would go on to fame and fortune, but here have only modest parts. Mastroianni, who would later star in La Dolce Vita (1960), Il Bell'Antonio (1960), Divorzio all'italiana (1961) and many others, plays Tiberio a photographer without a camera, whose wife is in jail, who has a constantly crying baby to take care of with one of his arms up in a sling with a board under it. Cardinale, who would go on to become one of Italy's most famous beauty bombshells, plays Carmelina, a young woman locked up by her brother in order to protect her honor until she marries.

Also featured are Carla Gravina (Nicoletta), a very pretty 17-year-old who went on to only a modest career, and the veteran Toto who plays the incompetent safecracker, Dante Cruciani. Notable is Renato Salvatori as Mario who wins Carmelina's heart, Memmo Carotenuto as Cosimo who fails at purse-snatching, and Carlo Pisacane as Capannelle who looks like an aged member of the Bowery Boys.

The story begins when Cosimo is caught trying to steal a car. In prison he learns of a nice sting that he can pull off if only he can get out of jail. So he tries to hire a scapegoat to confess to the crime so he can be freed. Finally Peppe, after getting knocked out in the first round of a prize fight, decides he needs the money. However when he goes to confess, the police see through the ruse and throw him in jail without releasing Cosimo. But Peppe does get out, and he and the motley assortment of would-be jewel thieves plot their crime amid hilarious missteps, pratfalls and mass confusion as they break into an apartment that they have the keys for to knock down a wall (which wall?) to gain access to a safe they probably can't crack. Will they succeed despite all the mishaps?

There is a sense of both recovery and poverty in post World War II Italy in the backdrops and the asides and the circumstances of the characters that lend to this comedy a realistic edge. We see the petty thievery as an understandable and almost acceptable way of life, at least for the time being. Mario always buys or steals three identical things for his "mother" who turns out to be three women who raised him at the orphanage. Tiberio has to sell his camera and then steal one. Skinny Capannelle is always eating. And in the jail several men share one cigarette while they blow the smoke into a bottle to capture it so that others might get a little nicotine as well! (Sure, and I have some gum I can recycle.)

The Criterion Collection DVD that I viewed has excellent yellow subtitles, but some of the lines come so fast and with such comedic as well as denotative intent that it is easy to miss something. Knowing Italian would help!

See this for all the "bumbling criminal" movies that it both imitated and inspired, and for the fine work by the talented cast.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Satire, August 20, 2000
By 
charles pope (cpope2@prodigy.net) - See all my reviews
Have you ever seen a cast of low lifes going through the motions of a great heist? Well, get your bandages out ..you will need them to contain yourself. The sight gags alone will drive you crazy and thats only if you catch them all.
Mastroianna, Gassman et all are aboslutely hysterical. Marcello has to babysit while his wife is in jail...and check out who is always eating the baby food.
As deft as it gets..a one of a kind film.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This movie will never get old., January 6, 2004
By 
Antonio Giusto (Toronto, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Big Deal on Madonna Street (The Criterion Collection) (DVD)
I just saw this movie for the first time about a year ago. I must have watched it at least 100 times and every time is like the first time. The characters are so lovable it's impossible to not like this film. This movie could cheer up even the saddest person.
I reccomend it to anyone who appreciates a good comedy. I do so cause it's the best I've seen and I've seen em all.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars mamma mia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, April 25, 2005
By 
This review is from: Big Deal on Madonna Street (The Criterion Collection) (DVD)
This is a a GREAT FILM!

I've seen it countless times and every time it's just like the first time: I laugh my butt off!!!!!!!!

I love every character in in this film, in fact, I couldn't imagine this film without Mastroianni and Gassman, they are hilarious!!!!!!!
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Big Deal on Madonna Street (The Criterion Collection)
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