Exchange between Martin Balsam (Harry, Tony Powell's Agent) and Victor Mature (Tony Powell):
"Did you ever hear of an Italian film director called Federico Fabrizi'" (Harry) "No." (Tony) "He's downstairs. He wants to talk to you about a picture; a Neo-Realistic film." (Harry) "Send him up. What's Neo-Realism'" (Tony) "No money." (Harry)
Harry, this is Fred Okra (Akim Tamiroff), my co-producer; he invented OkraScope."
- Peter Sellers (Aldo Vanucci/Federico Fabrizi) to Martin Balsam (Harry)
Directed by Vittorio De Sica, AFTER THE FOX is collaboration between highly regarded American playwright Neil Simon and celebrated Italian screenwriter Cesare Zavattini on Simon's first screenplay. The film stars Peter Sellars as Aldo Vanucci, a blundering master thief. Vanucci contentedly whiles away his time in jail until he hears that his sister has become a prostitute. Vanucci escapes through a series of silly disguises, and finds his sister on the street picking up an older man. Vanucci attacks the man, only to find that his sister is in the midst of filming a dramatic "cinema verite" scene. Inspired, Vanucci disguises himself as a New Wave director named Federico Fabrizi, and begins pre-producing a "film" in which three million dollars in gold bullion will be smuggled into Italy. With the support of the criminal Okra (Akim Tamiroff), Vanucci hires aging movie star Tony Powell (Victor Mature) for the lead role, and steals the necessary film equipment from a famous Italian director, played by De Sica himself. Victor Mature's performance is outstanding as he lampoons his own big screen persona from the 1940s, while the rest of the film scathingly satires art films, hoity-toity directors, and the Italian persona.
A convict, pretending he is a Fellini-like director, persuades an entire Italian village to help him make an absurdist movie. In reality they are helping him pull off an outrageous gold heist. Mature is a riot as the has-been hambone invited to "star" in the picture. The screenplay, written by Neil Simon, was his first. A classic.
Scams And Cons |
Theatrical release: September 29, 1966.
The film has a most unusual co-writing team: Neil Simon usually focused on New York Jewish families, while Cesare Zavattini is best known as a founding figure in the Italian Neorealist movement.
Peter Sellers sings the title song, "After the Song," written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, along with the 1960s rock group The Hollies.
Critics of this film unanimously applauded Victor Mature's performance as an aging movie star, which parodied his own earlier image as a well-built hunk.
A co-production between the UK and Italy.
Vittorio De Sica, the film's director, is known as one of the pioneers of Italian Neorealist filmmaking. Neorealism began in the post-World War II years, and featured low-cost, documentary-style location shooting, the use of non-professional actors, and stories that focused on everyday events. Neorealist directors, which included Roberto Rossellini and Luchino Visconti, were an important influence on the French New Wave of the late 1950's and 1960's.
Some of De Sica's most well-known films are THE BICYCLE THIEF, SHOESHINE, and UMBERTO D. He was also an actor, appearing in the lead of such important films as Roberto Rossellini's GENERAL DELLA ROVERE.
Additional cast: Nino Musco (Mayor) and Pier Luigi Pizzi (Doctor).
Additional credits: Grazio Tassara (production manager); Charles Blackwell (song orchestrator)