Saturday, January 26, 2008

Over Christmas we received a calendar with each month showcasing a different Italian movie poster so I've decided to watch each month's film. January was Fellini's "I Vitelloni" also released as "The Guys" or "The Young and the Passionate" though I don't know where the "Passion" was. In fact, this is the story of 5 friends who all lack passion in some way as they live at home and basically sponge off their families and do nothing other than drink, stay out late and chase girls. Thus the term, common here in Toronto, of a guy who's a Vitellone - just a lay about, a young calf getting fat (like a piece of veal). One thing that struck me about the movie was what a complete cad the 'skirt chaser' character is. There's no way in a movie today could you depict someone who forces himself on women as comical. Despite that, you can see Fellini's hand at work especially in the Carnavale scene or in the general theme of, I don't know, that surreal limbo or boredom Fellini seems to embalm his characters in.

It's funny how some films in the seventies (like The Omega Man) really look dated but with these older films you forgive a lot, maybe often assuming they'll look dated. Instead, these silvern gems often look classic (maybe just because they are black and white) but more surprising is when the humour holds up as well. Such is the case of the 1951 film the Lavender Hill Mob. It's fairly simple story of a quiet bank employee (Alec Guinness) who decides to cash in for a better life. He concocts the perfect scheme to steal millions in gold bullion only to have the plan fray at the seams until it falls apart. The best thing is, as it predates cussin' in movies, it is guaranteed grandparent-save viewing. If you watch any film made after 1960 with my parents, you'll definitely hear a few "tut-tutts" ruining your viewing pleasure.



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