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Il bidone 12 rating

American star Broderick Crawford joined forces with Federico Fellini for this deliciously cynical tale of three conmen.

Drama 1955 113 mins

Director: Federico Fellini

Overview

Federico Fellini followed up his iconic breakthrough La strada with this brilliant drama – an unsparing look at the dog-eat-dog values of postwar Italian society that nonetheless manages to navigate expertly between the lightly comic and the emotionally stark to become one of his richest, most moving works. Il bidone [The Swindle] follows three small-time – the ageing Augusto (Broderick Crawford), “Picasso” (Richard Basehart), and Roberto (Franco Fabrizi) – as they prey upon the poor and gullible for modest gains. However, once Augusto is unexpectedly reunited with his daughter, now struggling with her studies, the moral and emotional demands of his lifestyle begin to take their toll sooner than he had anticipated.

With its masterful set pieces and host of superb performances (including the director’s wife and muse Giuletta Masina), this forms the centrepiece of what has been termed Fellini’s “Trilogy of Loneliness” (with bookending films La strada and Le notti di Cabiria), and may be the darkest examination of human nature he ever attempted.