Il monello della strada (1950)

aka Street Urchin
Article 5284 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 10-28-2016
Directed by Carlo Borghesio
Featuring Erminio Macario, Ciccio Jacono, Luisa Rossi
Country: Italy
What it is: Italian comedy

An Italian working as a miner in Argentina marries a woman by proxy. When he returns to Italy, he discovers the woman he married is dead and that he has become the legal father of the woman’s son. He tries to get rid of the boy, but there’s a mysterious woman who won’t let him do it…

To some extent, I must withhold judgment on this one because the copy I found was in Italian without English subtitles. All I initially had to go on was the fantastic content as listed in the Walt Lee guide, which mentions that the plot involves a mother’s ghost making sure that her son finds a good father. Fortunately, this tidbit of information did make it possible for me to more or less follow the plot, and the fact that it was a comedy which occasionally relies on visuals for its humor means that I wasn’t left completely out of the loop. In short, despite the language barrier and the fact that certain plot points and jokes escaped me, I did rather enjoy this one. There’s a fun sequence in which the main character pretends to be a western hero character in a comic book, and the final sequence of the movie has our hero moving through an entire world frozen in time, and the fact that it’s all done by having people trying (not always successfully) to stand really still doesn’t really interfere with the fun of the moment. I always find it a nice experience when I can somehow appreciate a foreign movie when I can’t understand the language, and it happens often enough that I don’t feel like I’m wasting my time by making the effort.

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