Swindle, The; Il Bidone

2314. THE SWINDLE (IL Bidone) (1955-Italy-France). With BRODERICK CRAWFORD, guilietta masina, richard basehart. Directed and co-scripted by federico fellini. In this at once deeply sentimental and vividly realistic film, the great Federico Fellini astutely weaves the story of three small-time Italian scam artists and the manner in which they go about ripping off their all-too-trusting (and all-too-poor) victims. Some of the episodes are humorous, as when two of them impersonate a priest and monsignor (the latter a “special envoy of his eminence” in Rome) to trick some peasant women. Primarily however, Fellini focuses on the personalities of his trio of characters. The youngest is Roberto, describes as “the blonde guy who’s always laughing.” The carefree Roberto seemingly will have the best shot at moving up in the criminal world. The middle member is Picasso, a man with family pressures; his wife is played by Guilietta Masina, one of the Italian cinema’s greatest stars as well as the beloved wife of Fellini. Finally there is the aging and world-weary Augusto (superbly portrayed with an appropriate sense of melancholy by Broderick Crawford). Augusto worries about his daughter, who does not know his profession. He senses all too correctly that life has passed him by. As the scenario plays itself out, much happens to Augusto. The final fifteen-odd minutes (which depict Augusto’s ultimate fate) are especially poignant and memoÂrable. It is the payoff to a brilliantly directed and tremendously moving and thought-provoking film. Dubbed in English. 85 minutes. Drama