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For The Passionate Thief, Anna Magnani was reunited with her revue costar of the forties, the beloved comic actor Totò, who revered her. (The kiss on the hand wasn’t good enough for her, he said, and invented the kiss on the foot.) An adaptation of two novels by Alberto Moravia, this beautiful film depicts the failed illusions of two broken-down bit players at Cinecittà. The marvelous Magnani portrays a hapless would-be actress who becomes implicated in a theft by a retired extra (Totò) and a young pickpocket (Ben Gazzara) with whom she falls in love. “Shimmering life, lust and comedy . . . the fantastic, weird combo of Magnani, Gazzara, and Totò scramble and scheme through Rome on a New Year’s Eve filled with shrieks of laughter, desperate actions and consuming pleasures” (Manohla Dargis, New York Times).

  • Year
    1960
  • Runtime
    106 minutes
  • Language
    Italian
  • Country
    Italy
  • Director
    Mario Monicelli
  • Screenwriter
    Mario Monicelli, Suso Cecchi D’Amico, Age and Scarpelli, adapted by D’Amico from the novels Risate di Gioia and Ladri in Chiesa by Alberto Moravia
  • Cast
    Anna Magnani, Totò, Ben Gazzara, Fred Clark
  • Cinematographer
    Leonida Barboni