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Saturday, November 7, 2015

Il Giudzio Universale (aka The Last Judgement) (1961)

Over the sky in Naples one day, a voice announces that God will pronounce his last judgement on mankind at 6:00 that evening. The reactions of the population is varied from skeptical to an attempt to rectify their past sins. Directed by Vittorio De Sica (who also acts in it), this satire is a patchwork quilt of a movie. The huge eclectic international ensemble cast ranges from Anouk Aimee to Jimmy Durante! It's really a series of vignettes intercut with each other until all the unrelated characters are united at an elaborate dance at the film's end. The first portion of the film has its moments but when the "last judgement" comes, it falls as flat as a pancake. A musical number about race relations? Really? One can't help but think Mel Brooks did this kind of thing so much better. There is a rain sequence which everyone thinks is the coming of another flood that is very well done though. All in all, a disappointment but there are enough good things (like Alberto Sordi's performance as a man who buys children and exports them to the U.S.) that made the viewing worthwhile. Also in the cast: Melina Mercouri, Jack Palance, Silvana Mangano, Vittorio Gassman, Ernest Borgnine, Fernandel, Akim Tamiroff, Nino Manfredi, Paolo Stoppa, Eleonora Brown and Lino Ventura.

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