Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

January 16, 2009

review: Ballata da un miliardo (1967)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 5:43 pm

Believe it or not, some of my longtime readers have been asking me to post some of my old reviews from Black To Comm and elsewhere. Well, I’m too lazy to transcribe those from the yellowing old magazines (although I’d like to make available an edited version of my talk with John Cage someday…), but here’s the first in this series of online film reviews I’ve written over the years. Hope you find it interesting…let me know…


goofy Italian crime farce, with Ray Danton in great form!, 2 November 2004


The title of the English language TV print I watched of this film is HOW TO WIN A BILLION…AND GET AWAY WITH IT. Imagine a cross between THE GANG THAT COULDN’T SHOOT STRAIGHT and OCEAN’S ELEVEN, if it had starred the Bowery Boys instead of the Rat Pack, and maybe you’ll have some idea about this goofy 60s Italian crime farce. Ray Danton plays both an aging crime boss AND his playboy-wannabe son, and he’s very funny in both roles. And thankfully Danton himself–a man with a fine voice–dubs both voices. This is lowbrow comedy on a Franco and Ciccio or Bowery Boys level, and what holds the film together is the charm and wit of Ray Danton, spoofing the tough-guy roles he played in so many earlier films. No great analysis is needed of a film such as this–if you want a dubbed Italian slapstick crime comedy starring a fine American tough-guy actor who did a number of good films during his European sojourn, then you’ll want to find a copy of this obscure film. My copy was taped off a UHF station in the 1980’s. Why there isn’t a cable network specializing in European genre films, I don’t know, but until there is, I wouldn’t hold my breath expecting to see this on television.

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