Fellini’s ‘The Swindle’, part of Berlinale Classics, brings to fore the filmmaker’s deeply Catholic concerns

Posted on March 5, 2020

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/federico-fellinis-the-swindle-part-of-berlinale-classics-brings-to-fore-the-filmmakers-deeply-catholic-concerns-8115351.html

One of the odder casting decisions in film history is Broderick Crawford in Federico Fellini’s Il bidone (The Swindle). How does one explain the presence of this blustery American, who won the Academy Award for Best Actor in All the King’s Men (1949), playing an Italian in a drama made by an Italian director whose La Strada had become the first winner of the just-instituted Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award (now renamed Best International Feature Film)? It’s odder still when you hear who Fellini originally wanted for the part: Humphrey Bogart. But by then, Bogart was dying of cancer, and Fellini happened to see Crawford’s face on a poster of All the King’s Men, and…

Il bidone (1955) was based on stories Fellini heard from a petty thief during the production of La strada, and these stories were knit into the narrative of a swindler’s gradual change of conscience. (Film critic Tullio Kezich’s Federico Fellini: His Life and Work is a must-read for fans of the filmmaker. It’s filled not just with analysis but also a ton of such terrific anecdotes.) Crawford plays an aging con man named Augusto. With his accomplices, he dons priestly robes and swindles peasants. But something happens when he meets his estranged daughter, who needs money. Something happens when he sees that one of his “targets” has a young daughter — about the same age as his daughter — who walks with crutches because of childhood polio.

Continued at the link above.

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