Forty years after World War II, an American executive (Lemmon) returns to Naples on business, only to be confronted by an amiable eccentric (Mastroianni) who over the years has been writing to his own sister, pretending to be Lemmon, in order to console her for being wooed and abandoned by Lemmon as a GI. A loopy enough premise for a crazy farce, but Scola avoids the obvious and turns in a touching comedy about friendship and the importance of imagination. While Lemmon is as effectively professional as ever as the surly grouch regenerated by the Neapolitan way of life, it is Mastroianni who steals the show. Perfectly attuned to the film's easygoing examination of the gulf between reality and fantasy, hopes and disillusionment, Mastroianni manages to make convincing a man stricken with a singularly fertile form of insanity and blessed with a heart as huge and warm as Vesuvius. Gently ironic, remarkably relaxed, he is Lancaster-like in his effortless ability to demonstrate pathos, humour and dignity.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Ruggero Maccari, Scarpelli, Ettore Scola|
Maria Luisa Santella