[font=Century Gothic]While not quite the comedy I was expecting, there is still much to recommend in "Mafioso." Don't get me wrong. There are certainly comedic elements but they are subtly downplayed as the movie barely avoids several stereotypes at once while utilizing a parallel storyline to its best advantage. What is accentuated are the cultural differences between the traditional, laid back Sicily versus the more modern, fast-paced Milan.(I don't have the ear for it but I am sure the dialects are quite different also.) It does not take Antonio long to get used to the slower rhythms of his old hometown but he is shocked by the darkness that infuses the last half hour of the movie. Throughout, he is reminded that most of his old friends are dead, in jail or perpetually unemployed, his university education allowing him to escape this fate. But there are worse things than hanging out at the beach all day.[/font]
This is sort of a dark comedy produced by Dino De Laurentis and directed by Alberto Lattuada. That is slowly being re-released here in the States.
Antonio "Nino" Badalamenti (Alberto Sordi, the Italian Peter Sellers) works in a Milan steel fabricating plant, stamping out Fiats and scooters, and is happily married to his northern Italian wife, Marta (Norma Bengell) and they have two precocious blonde daughters.
Nino is a conscientious worker and takes his bonus in vacation time and takes the family back to his hometown of Catanao in Sicily and meet his family. One of the executives asks him to deliver a present to one of the local Dons, Don Vincenzo (Ugo Attanaslo) and Nino is happy to do so.
The movie sort of pokes fun of Sicilians and the "Old World" stereotypes, but at the same time Nino enjoys his return and is highly respectful of the old ways and the people. Nino was just a messenger boy for the Mafia, but the Dons remember him as being an excellent shot and have some plans for him.
There's more to this movie than I expected. Even if you're the type to shy away from Italian comedies from this period (no doubt because you're turned off by all of the yelling and blah blah blahing), it's worth a look now that the DVD is easily available.