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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Il Bidone (1955)

An aging con man (Broderick Crawford) makes his living by swindling poor and gullible peasants. He has two partners: a weak willed aspiring artist (Richard Basehart) with a wife (Giulietta Masina) and child to support and a self deluded playboy (Franco Fabrizi). But he begins to realize that his time is running out and the future looks grim. Made between two of his most acclaimed films (LA STRADA and NIGHTS OF CABIRIA), this is a minor offering by Federico Fellini that is made up of a series of fragmented scenes that as a whole never quite matches up to the sum of its parts. The film's best scene is a cocktail party that gives hints of LA DOLCE VITA to come. With the exception of Masina, the film's characters are unsympathetic so it's hard to invest in their fates. But the acting, especially from Crawford, is very good and the film's distressing ending has an impact. The score by Nino Rota isn't particularly memorable. Still, I enjoyed it more than some of Fellini's more acclaimed films.

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