UN MOSTRO E MEZZO (1964)
aka A Monster and a Half
Article 4491 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Steno
Featuring Franco Franchi, Ciccio Ingrassia, Alberto Bonucci
What it is: A Franco and Ciccio comedy
A thief is arrested for murder when he steals a suitcase from a professor that contains a cadaver. He is rescued by the professor, who offers to change his face with his experimental plastic surgery.
Just when you thought it was safe to watch an Italian movie without English subtitles…. it’s Franco and Ciccio again. Yes, I know I’ve ribbed them a lot in my reviews, but I’m going to have to be honest -I really don’t feel entitled to make a judgment on the quality of their work. When their movies are dubbed, you end up judging the dubbing rather than the original performances, and I think the only times I’ve seen them with subtitles have been in movies that don’t capture them in their usual mode. As for watching them undubbed and unsubtitled, how can you really judge a comedy when you don’t get the jokes? Yes, I still hold that Franco Franchi is one of the most unrestrained muggers in movie history, but I still sense that he has a sharp sense of comic timing, and there are times in this movie where the mugging is used to good effect; a long sequence where he is mistaken for a corpse and wheeled in as a subject during a class lecture is a good example of this. Maybe I’m mellowing on these two because I’ve gotten used to them now; I know what to expect from a Franco and Ciccio movie, and the mugging has ceased to shock me. There are touches of horror to this one, and the scene where the plastic surgery takes place offers plenty in the way of mad science, so we do have fantastic content here.