"Big Deal On Madonna Street" Is Released
Big Deal on Madonna Street (Italian: I soliti ignoti, also released as Persons Unknown in the UK) is a 1958 Italian criminal-comedy film, directed by Mario Monicelli, and considered to be among the masterpieces of Italian cinema.
Its original title translates as "the usual unknown persons", a journalistic and bureaucratic euphemism for "unidentified criminals". The film is a comedy about a group of small-time thieves and ne'er-do-wells who bungle an attempt to burglarize a state-run pawn shop called Monte di Pietà in Rome. The main roles are played by Marcello Mastroianni, Vittorio Gassman, Renato Salvatori, Carlo Pisacane and Tiberio Murgia. The careers of both Gassman and Mastroianni were considerably helped by the success of the film, especially Gassman's, since before then he was not deemed suitable for comedic roles. Claudia Cardinale also featured in a minor role (a chaste, black-clad Sicilian girl, almost held prisoner at home by her overbearing brother, played by Tiberio Murgia), although she would later rise to fame for other works.
Mario Monicelli's classic crime comedy Big Deal on Madonna Street (I Soliti Ignoti) features Vittorio Gassman and Marcello Mastroianni as a pair of thieves who head a group of criminals in a break-in attempt. Their plan involves digging an underground tunnel from an apartment that leads to a neighboring business and drilling their way inside. In addition to each of the burglars struggling with individual personal problems, the group must reassess their plans after they find themselves not in the store, but a different room of the apartment from which they started. Big Deal on Madonna Street is a spoof of Jules Dassin's caper classic Rififi. ~ Perry Seibert, All Movie Guide