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Operazione San Pietro

Operation St. Peter's
Die Abenteuer des Kardinal Braun / Au Diable les Anges

Italy/West Germany/France 1967
produced by
Turi Vasile for Ultra Film, Roxy Film, Marianne Productions
directed by Lucio Fulci
starring Heinz Rühmann, Lando Buzzanca, Uta Levka, Jean-Claude Brialy, Edward G.Robinson, Christine Barclay, Wolfgang Kieling, Herbert Fux, Jed Curtis
written by Adriano Bolzoni, Ennio De Concini, Lucio Fulci, Roberto Gianviti, Paul Hengge, music by Ward Swingle, Armando Trovajoli, vocals by the Swingle Singers

Father Brown, Father Brown (Heinz Rühmann)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Rather by accident, small fry crook Napoleone (Lando Buzzanca) is freed by a trio of even smaller fry crooks, and the four of them want to make it big in Rome, with very little success ... until they successfully steal Michelangelo's La Pietą from the St.Peter's Basilica, using nothing but a forklift.

La Pietą is worth a fortune or two, but unfortunately noone is interested in buying it, because it's just too hot. Then though Cayella (Jean-Claude Brialy), the guy our crooks are staying at while in Rome, tells his new girlfriend Samantha (Uta Levka) about La Pietą, not knowing that her gangster bigshot boyfriend Joe Fortune (Edward G.Robinson) is listening in - and he figures he ought to get his hands on La Pietą to sell it back to the Vatican - and soon enough, he has gotten hold of the statue, too. In the meantime though, thanks to his girlfriend Marisa (Christine Barclay), Napoleone has second thoughts about the theft and actually wants to give La Pietą back to the church ... only to find it gone when he wants to hand it over - which is where Cardinal Braun (Heinz Rühmann) takes over and orders all of the church's priests, monks and nuns to track down La Pietą in any which way possible ... and in the end of course the church gets the statue back while Joe Fortune, who has always been a bit senile, has a breakdown ...

 

Obviously made as a cash-in on G.K. Chesterton's character Father Brown (whom Rühmann played in a pair of films in the early 1960's), this fim however is not a subtle murder mystery (as Chesterton's stories tend to be) but a loud Italian-West German crime comedy - which spells desaster from the start: For the most part, the film is extremely unfunny and badly written (inasmuch as the script lacks any kind of stringency) on top of that. The characters (safe for Edward G.Robinson's senile gangster) completely lack depth, the actors turn in at best sub routine performances (again, safe for Edward G.Robinson). Only when the priests, monks and nuns start chasing the gangsters and La Pietą does the film have a few amusing sightgags, but as this chase goes on for quite some time, exactly these sightgags become tiring after a while. The other rather amusing scene is when Uta Levka threatens to strip completely to keep the cardinal off her back ... but unfortunately this does not save the film (especially since she only strips to her underwear).

Definitely not worth your time and money.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
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out now on DVD