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The Icicle Thief [VHS] (1990)

Maurizio Nichetti , Caterina Sylos Labini , Maurizio Nichetti  |  NR |  VHS Tape
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Maurizio Nichetti, Caterina Sylos Labini, Federico Rizzo, Renato Scarpa, Heidi Komarek
  • Directors: Maurizio Nichetti
  • Writers: Maurizio Nichetti, Mauro Monti
  • Producers: Ernesto Di Sarro
  • Format: Black & White, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English, Italian
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Gaiam Americas, Inc
  • VHS Release Date: June 29, 1994
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6302130395
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #327,867 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

This fascinating Italian film (with English subtitles) by Maurizio Nichetti works on several levels at once--and is extremely funny on all of them. At heart, it's a satire of the kind of neorealism of such films as The Bicycle Thief, which it spoofs. But it also makes fun of the TV-centered society in Italy, as families gather around their TVs to watch Nichetti's takeoff on The Bicycle Thief, complete with hilarious commercial breaks. The film within a film is a spot-on black-and-white takeoff that begins to go distinctly wrong when a woman from one of the TV commercials is accidentally plopped in the middle of the film (which is about a man who is disgraced when he steals a chandelier from the chandelier factory in order to feed his family). The film is clever and visually arresting; its central effect--the Technicolor woman in the middle of the monochromatic movie--is commonplace in TV commercials now but was considered startling when this film came out. --Marshall Fine

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Original and misinterpreted December 25, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
This offbeat Italian comedy uses the familiar black and white/color dichotomy to indicate different worlds, a technique always in danger of being overdone. Last time I saw it was in Hollywood's Pleasantville (1998) where it was so cloying it annoyed; the first time magically in The Wizard of Oz (1939). It was even done (to good effect) in Spielberg's Schindler's List (1993). Here the "film" is in black and white (as it's being shown on TV) and the commercials are in color. The characters bizarrely go from one "world" to the other while somewhere in between is the "real" world of TV viewers. Because the world of TV commercials is the more fantastic, I think the technique works well here.
Maurizio Nichetti, who might (and might not) remind you of Roberto Benigni, stars as Anotonio Piermattei, the icicle thief, the protagonist of the movie within a movie, which is a Bicycle Thief-like tragic film that the TV people manage to mangle into a TV-like romantic comedy. (If you're wondering how one can be an icicle thief, keep wondering. I'll never tell.) Nichetti also plays the auteur of the film being shown on TV who is invited to be interviewed but never gets to speak partly because the film critic who is to do the interview thinks they are viewing a different film.
The title notwithstanding, this is not a satire or a "spoof" of Vittorio De Sica's internationally acclaimed The Bicycle Thief (1948), although De Sica himself might be seen as being lightly satirized. Nichetti's The Icicle Thief is more like an identification as it attempts to stand with the art film solidly against commercialism. However any similarity between the film within a film here and De Sica's masterpiece is sycophantic.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly hilarious, and lots of fun August 13, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
This movie is terribly charming (especially after seeing "The Bicycle Thieves") and very funny. The official review sadly gives away too much of this movie. I saw this film in a college class with no summations beforehand, and was really blown away. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys quirky little stories within stories, paying close attention to the story line and typical Italian humor.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cleverest film I've seen November 9, 2000
By ConBrio
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
While on the face of it a commedy, and in fact tremendously funny, the film is much more about how our memories merge events just because they were coincident. As a result, the independent lives of the viewers, the director who is being interviewed, the commercials, and the old film, all become intwined, with each character's drivers continuing to motivate them even in the new environment. This changes the direction of each of the narratives to great comic effect. No threads are left untied, each element of the film works on its own, and the mix is fantastically funny. If we could give this film 10 stars I happily would!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clever and superbly funny movie February 28, 2006
By Bomojaz
Format:VHS Tape
An incredibly inventive and inspired movie, it takes the idea of a movie-within-a-movie beyond anything I've ever seen before. A movie is being shown on Italian television that resembles very much DeSica's film THE BICYCLE THIEF. At its most poignant and emotional moments, however, it's interrupted by commercial breaks. Pretty soon the characters from the movie "leave" the film for the commercials, and vice-versa. The director (Maurizio Nichetti) enters the movie to try to get his script back to the way he intended it. The results of all this are wildly funny. Not only is the premise of the story extremely clever, but Nichetti pulls it off with technical felicity (going from b&w in the movie to color in the commercials) and some great acting from his principals. It's a wonderful treat of a film that will keep you smiling for a long time after it's over. It also has some sharp things to say about art and commercialism. Definitely worth a watch.
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