Produced by Sergio Giussani. Directed by Alberto Sordi. Screenplay, Rodolfo Sonego, Sordi. Camera (color), Armando Nannuzzi; editor, Tatiana Casini; music, Piero Piccioni; art direction, Marco Dentici; costume design, Paola Marchesin. Reviewed at Fiamma Cinema, Rome, Mar. 10, 1994. Running time: 105 MIN.
With: Alberto Sordi (Gaetano), Matteo Ripaldi (Ferruccio), Cinzia Cannarozzo (Iris), Eros Pagni (Otello), Tatiana Farnese (Cesarina), Simona Caparrini (Wilma).
Veteran Italo comic Alberto Sordi has been directing himself in vehicles for several years with less than brilliant results. Pedestrian helming on this tearjerker, about a 75-year-old Roman cabbie and his horse, hurts a gentle story that harks back to another era. Appealing mainly to nostalgia audiences, pic has underperformed theatrically on home turf.
Gaetano (Sordi) and his horse, Nestor, happily trot tourists around Rome until the buggy’s owner (Eros Pagni in a malicious cameo) informs him the jig is up. Next morning, Gaetano is to take his carriage to Cinecitta, drop Nestor off at the slaughterhouse and wend his way to the old folks’ home. At the last moment, he rebels and leads Nestor on a (doomed) search for greener pastures.
It takes a consummate thesp like Sordi to make something of this maudlin material, and he pulls it offin a very human and moving perf. Tale at times recalls Vittorio De Sica’s classic “Umberto D.”, without approaching its emotion. Pic is peppered with slightly out-of-date characters, like the stripteasing mom (Cinzia Cannarozzo) of Gaetano’s grandson (Matteo Ripaldi) and her hot-rodding boyfriend.
Tech credits are good.