Pietro Germi co-wrote, directed & stars in this finely observed crime drama made just before his international breakthru with DIVORCE ITALIAN STYLE/’61. While brilliantly formatted as a Police Procedural, from robbery on the unfashionable top floor to domestic murder in the ritzy lower flats of the same building, Germi (who plays the chief detective) gives equal time to the cross-pollinating lives of this cross-section of classes in fast modernizing Rome. With his distinctive tone of mordant Neo-Realism, notched up via vicious comic archetypes, firmly in place (is this the case in his earlier work?), Germi seems unable to put a foot or a camera position wrong. Same with casting instincts that see Claudia Cardinale in an early standout role, and a smarmy turn from I VITELLONI’s Franco Fabrizi. Plus, Leonida Barboni’s rich b&w location lensing, as seen in MYA/Belmondo's immaculate DVD edition. (Not WideScreen, so set your screen ratio accordingly.) The only downside is that so many earlier Germi pics remain unavailable Stateside.
DOUBLE-BILL: You might be able to locate the NoShame DVD of Germi’s previous pic, THE RAILROAD MAN/’56 (not seen here).