A highly colourful theatre of lively and elegant romance set on the wonderful stage that is Venice
Alberto Sordi and Nino Manfredi challenge each other in Venetian dialect, in a tribute to the traditional “masks” of the Italian commedia dell’arte
Dino Risi remembered the film as a “highly colourful theatre.” And as the action is set in the alleyways and along the canals of Venice, it goes without saying that some of the “masks” from Goldoni’s reinterpretation of the Italian commedia dell’arte should feature: Arlecchino, Brighella and company make their presence felt in the personalities of the main characters. The stand-offish and cowardly Nino Manfredi is contrasted by the boastful Alberto Sordi, in a film that is lively, salacious and elegant from start to finish. At first glance, Sordi’s character may not appear to be a role best suited to him, however he ably demonstrates the versatility of his talent. It is also highly enjoyable to watch his attempts at the Venetian dialect struggle to subdue his instinctive Romanesque.
Gondolier Bepi is supposed to be getting married to Nina but cannot resist the temptation of wooing attractive tourists, constantly getting himself into trouble. His annoyed fiancée repeatedly threatens to throw herself into the arms of Toni, who dotes on her but is too shy to make the first move. When two American girls step into his gondola, it appears to be the last straw…