08/24/2016  
Take Me To The River on Blu-ray & DVD Feb 5Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1956) on Blu-ray & DVD Jan 5Condemned on DVD & Blu-ray Jan 5Broad City: Season 2 on DVD Jan 5McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Jennifer Esposito Is Your Newest NCIS Agent in Season 1...
Critics Are Split on Ghostbusters Reboot ...
'Respect is key': The Game, Snoop Dogg lead march to LA...
Kristen Stewart's Sheer Dress At 'Equals' Premiere -- S...
"A Slow Slipping Away"-- Kris Kristofferson's Long-Undi...
Fox News' Roger Ailes Sued for Sexual Harassment by Ous...
Garrison Keillor Retires from 'Prairie Home Companion' ...
Jennifer Aniston is Pregnant: Star Steps Out in Loose D...
Hiddleswift Is One Big Song Promotion -- A Theory...
Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley files for ...





Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

The Criterion Collection presents
Big Deal on Madonna Street (I Soliti ignoti) (1958)

"Now, one way to open [safes] is to use dynamite. The system preferred by the famous fu Cimin....The poor guy got blown up with the safe. Therefore, I'm ruling out this method outright."
- Dante Cruciani (Toto)

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: July 30, 2001

Stars: Vittorio Gassman, Renato Salvatori, Carlo Pisacane, Marcello Mastroianni, Totò
Other Stars: Memmo Carotenuto, Carla Gravina, Claudia Cardinale, Tiberio Murgia
Director: Mario Monicelli

Manufacturer: Modern Videofilm L.A.
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (sexual innuendo, mild comic violence)
Run Time: 01h:46m:46s
Release Date: June 05, 2001
UPC: 037429155424
Genre: comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ A-A-B- D

DVD Review

Close on the heels of the classic crime thriller Rififi came this wacky satire on the hard-boiled professional crime movie. Where Rififi focused on men who were highly competent at their 'work' of burglary and safecracking, the participants in Big Deal on Madonna Street are uniformly inept and incompetent. The results are highly funny, even for those not familiar with the original.

Small-time car thief Cosimo (Memmo Carotenuto) gets caught red-handed, and attempts to get one of his cronies, either Mario (Renato Salvatori), Ferribote (Tiberio Murgia), cameraless photographer Tiberio (Marcello Mastroianni) and Capanelle (Carlo Pisacane) to plead to the crime so he can take on a "big job" that he knows about. They eventually con glass-jawed boxer Peppe (Vittorio Gassman) into doing it, but he ends up getting arrested on his own account. When Cosimo confides the plan to Peppe, the boxer double-crosses him and on release takes over the job, and Cosimo's "gang", himself. The plan involves a thin wall between a vacant apartment on Madonna Street and the next-door pawnshop safe. The hapless gang makes their "scientific preparations" with the help of safecracker Dante Cruciani (Totò), ridiculously giving lessons on safecracking on a roof amongst the drying laundry. Of course, the plans end up a complete mess, the execution is flawed to say the least, and comic disaster stalks their every steps.

Much of the comedy here is slapstick, but there is also plenty of verbal humor that comes across well through the newly-translated subtitles. The picture is probably funniest if viewed soon after Rififi, especially in the contrast between the accomplishment of the respective heists in each picture; where the gang in Rififi is utterly quiet, speaking not a word, the hapless group in Big Deal makes every noise imaginable and is constantly talking and fighting amongst themselves to humorous effect.

Mastroianni is quietly amusing as the photographer trying to take care of his infant child while simultaneously taking part in the heist; he gives a nicely understated but still amusing performance. Vittorio Gassman is generally good, though a little broad in his facial expressions when he is inevitably knocked out (which happens repeatedly). The gem of the cast is Carlo Pisacane as the aged and dimwitted Capannelle. His slightly dotty and confused take on life makes him a subject of laughter whenever he has screen time. Claudia Cardinale, despite her high billing, is hardly visible here at all.

Part of what makes the film so good is the poverty and desperation of the central characters, which heightens the pathetic nature of their attempts to strike it rich with a heist. This gives the comedy a grounding in seriousness and reality that makes the film all the more touching.

The black and white photography is crisp and gorgeous throughout, making this a visual feast as well as a highly amusing divertment. The pacing is brisk and the swingy jazz score by Piero Umiliani propels things along at a breakneck speed, for highly enjoyable results. The intertitles (such as "One month later") are announced with trumpet fanfares that are so utterly out of place that one can't help but laugh at them. This is one of the better foreign comedies, enjoyable even for those who don't usually like such films and find alleged comedians like Tati boring (as I do). The main (and a very minor) detraction is the ghastly cover art; when will Criterion hire an actual artist to design their uniformly hideous DVD covers?

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: A-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: The original full-frame presentation is included here in a rich chiaroscuro. The blacks are incredibly deep and moody, as is the case in the model. While there are long stretches that are completely flawless, there is an abundance of speckling near the reel changes. However, the picture has nice crispness and clarity without a digital appearance or edge enhancement. There is a lot of grain, but that is due to the heavy use of low-light conditions, in clear mockery of the overuse of these techniques in Rififi. One look at the overly-contrasty and dupey trailer will make it clear just how excellent this picture looks. A very attractive video transfer.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoItalianno


Audio Transfer Review: The only audio track is the original Italian mono. There is some minor hiss and noise, but it doesn't detract significantly from the presentation. As is typical for films of this age, low bass is completely missing. In some of the louder passages, the jazz score is slightly clipped and distorted. Overall, it's an adequate soundtrack.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 25 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Production Notes
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL
Layers Switch: 00h:52m:25s

Extras Review: Other than a trailer for the U.S. arthouse release and some brief liner notes by Bruce Eder, there's nothing here. The subtitles appear to be well-translated and are removable. The layer change is badly placed in the middle of a fade; it could have been put two seconds sooner on a static intertitle and no one would have known it was there.

Extras Grade: D

 

Final Comments

A fun and rapid-moving satire of the safecracker heist genre, with some hilarious performances and a spiffy jazz score, given a nice transfer. Low on extras, it's still definitely worth owning.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

television, jennifer esposito, blue bloods, ncis, mark harmon. duane henry, wilmer valderrama, michael weatherly, bull, movie, ghostbusters, comedy, chris helmsworth, melissa mcarthy, kristen wiig, celebrity, rap, game, shoop dogg, jayceon terrell taylor, alton sterling, kristen stewart, equals, jonathan simkhal, nicholas hoult, music, kris kristofferson, country music hall of fame, alzheimers, lyme disease, fox news, gretchen carlson, fox and friends, steve doocy, roger ailes, the real story with gretchen carlson, radio, garrison keillor, a prairie home companion, jennifer anniston, baby bump, justin theroux, taylor swift, tom hiddleston, calvin harris, lisa marie presley, michael lockwood, riley and benjamin keough, danny keough, michael jackson, nicolas cage, tom affleck, boston fan, bill simmons, hbo show, any given wednesday, tom brady, deflategate, hamilton, lin-manuel mianda, periscope, heart tweet machine, hamilton mixtape, cable, hbo, curb your enthusiasm, larry david, bernie sanders, saturday night live, maya and marty, christina grimmie, murdered, plaza live, before you exit, marcus grimmie, nashville, cmt, president brian phillips, the tonight show, jimmy fallon, president obama, the roots, hillary clinton, tim mcgraw, faith hill, maggie mcgraw, humble and kind, ellen degeneres show, titi pierce, coldwell banker robbins & free realty, hairspray live!, tracy turnblad, york theatre company, john waters, jennifer hudson, harvey fierstein, martin short, derek hough, j.k. rowling, harry potter and the cursed child, noma dumezweni, emma watson, judd apatow, paul freig, melissa mccarthy, romance, history channel, roots, remake, anika noni rose, t.i., malachi kirby, josh duhamel, transformers, fergie, black eyed peas, axl, double dutchess, abc, music city, grand ole opry, chip esten, lennon stella, the voice, alisan porterm, christina aguilera, ceelo green, ariana grande, sia, the little big town, 2016 billboard music awards, pink, just like fire, pamela neal, warrior princess, send my love (to your new lover), billboard music awards, adele, patrick daughters, bryan cranston, lbj, all the way, melissa leo, frank langella, todd weeks, hard sell, kristin chenoweth, wicked

On Facebook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store