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 Post subject: BD 66 Il bidone
PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 3:20 pm 
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Il bidone

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Federico Fellini followed up his iconic breakthrough La strada with this brilliant drama — an unsparing look at the dog-eat-dog values of post war 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 conmen — 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. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present this long-undervalued classic in a new high-definition restoration.

DUAL FORMAT RELEASE INCLUDING BLU-RAY AND DVD VERSIONS OF THE FILM

• Beautiful new high-definition master appearing in 1080p on the Blu-ray
• Optional English subtitles
• Interview with Dominique Delouche
• Original theatrical trailer
• 36-PAGE BOOKLET featuring the words of Federico Fellini, rare imagery, and more!


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 3:52 pm 
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Gregory wrote:
I'm of course grateful for the BFI release, which is superior to the old R1 in every way, but I wonder what the chances are that an even longer cut of Il Bidone will see the light of day. Fellini's initial edit of the film was two and a half hours and his producer demanded he cut it down so it would have a better chance at the Venice Film Festival. When it was not well received at Venice he had to cut it even more, and thus the 112' cut on the BFI release came into being. It's worth every cent, but I was disappointed that the added 20 minutes still didn't really allow Masina's Iris to be a well-developed presence in the film. I had hoped to see the scene where Iris confronts Augusto for corrupting Picasso, which Fellini believed to be one of the most crucial scenes that were cut, but it's still not there. Furthermore, even at 112' I think the characters of Picasso and Roberto still drop out too suddenly and thoroughly without resolving their stories in the final portion of the film.
Anyway, I wonder if the version that premiered at Venice survives anywhere.

I never even thought that the 112 minute version would ever surface, so this alone is a small miracle. With that said, I still haven't seen this version, which is amazing considering that Fellini is my favorite director (and the fact that I believe, that even at a very truncated 90 minutes, this is one of his greatest films), but it will be the next DVD I buy.

There was a thread about this a while back that was deleted, but my post on it was moved here to the BFI thread .

What are some of the extra scenes? Do we get more scenes with the dancer Crawford meets at the club? Do we get that carousel scene with Basehart? Does Masina have any extra scenes at all? It's a shame that the scene where she confronts Crawford is still gone, but now that I think about it I believe Fellini said that this scene was gone long before he even worked on the American cut, which means that it never existed in any cut other than what he showed to the producers (or an audience at, I believe, the Venice film festival). In the end I think we can conclude that it was the case of a director strangely cutting out their favorite scene because they felt it needed to go with everything else they had to cut. I don't think a proper document exists about this film's history, though I would love to know more about the production and the cuts (I'm sure the shooting script exists in some form somewhere).

I've always thought that anything added to the 90 minutes would help immeasurably (similar to how I feel about Ambersons: a masterpiece despite it's cuts, and it could only get better with more scenes). I'm guessing that this 112 minute version of "Il Bidone" is all we're going to get...maybe there are some extra scenes in the Cinecitta vaults, but wouldn't somebody have looked into that already? If there is, then maybe they will be edited into another version...perhaps if Criterion ever picks this up they can do a "Mr. Arkadin" on it (assuming that anything other than the 90 and 112 minute versions exist).

Thinking about it again, I really do love this film, and I should order the R2 this weekend. I look forward to seeing it.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 8:28 pm 
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According to John Baxter's biography of Fellini, the Venice Film Festival print was around 113 minutes. But according to Charlotte Chandler's book, the man said he cut it down to 112 minutes (and then even more) after it was ignored at Venice. If Baxter is right, it makes it even less likely that anything more will surface.
The extra footage involving the dancer are not to be found in the 112' cut. Neither is the strip-tease from the party sequence, which Fellini cut out to appease the censors. I also don't think much of the excised scenes with Giulietta have been restored. So what are the extra scenes? I don't trust my memory 100% so I'm going to do a comparison of the two versions in the next couple of days and post what I find out.
EDIT: This is going to take a little longer. I sold my Image DVD ages ago, so in order to do the comparison (which I really want to do) I have get ahold of a borrowed copy, which should happen in a few more days.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2006 9:36 pm 
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I did the comparison and as I had suspected there weren't any huge, easily noticeable differences. Even though the differences are subtle, they are many. The longer cut on the BFI watches better, it feels less maimed and awkward than the 90-minute cut. Still, most of the cuts were extremely short -- a single shot, a line or two of dialogue -- and over the course of the movie added up to 20 minutes or so.
Because there were hundreds I can't really list them all, but I will describe a few that I think are notable. The scene of Augusto leaving the club with the English dancer (Maggie) at dawn was considered risque and I think much of it has been cut. The longer cut shows Augusto pointing out to her that Roberto is a good looking kid and asking her if she likes him. She replies that she prefers to be with Augusto if he wants.
The long party scene was left intact between these two versions but a crucial part at the end of the argument between Picasso and Iris was cut. It shows them reaching a tentative reconciliation. After Picasso has proclaimed his devotion to the family, Iris says "You know I don't care anything about money. I'm not afraid. It's enough for me that you go back to the way you used to be, when we were just married." Picasso kisses her hand. She continues, "Oh sure, now you kiss my hand." Picasso asks her if she wants to smoke, she says yes, and he laughs happily. Iris then says "You'll see what I'll do to you one of these days. Sure, go on and laugh." Picasso then wishes her a happy New Year and they wander off down the street arm-in-arm to see more of the holiday festivities.
The daytime scene at the carousel between the gas station scams and the nighttime scene with Picasso, Augusto and Roberto was also cut.
Finally, another particularly important scene can be seen here in the longer cut. It's after Augusto's daytime arrest. He is led out of the police station at night in handcuffs and his daughter, Patrizia, watches from him behind a tree where she has been waiting ever since his arrest. They put him in a car which will take him to prison, and she quietly begins weeping.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2006 12:13 am 
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Thank you so much for your comparison Gregory.

Quote:
The daytime scene at the carousel between the gas station scams and the nighttime scene with Picasso, Augusto and Roberto was also cut.

By 'cut', do you mean it isn't on the BFI DVD?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2006 4:06 am 
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My pleasure. I meant that it was cut sometime between the version on the BFI disc and that on the Image, so it is on the BFI (though it is only about a 30-40 second scene).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2006 3:11 am 
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Well, it took three months, but I finally got around to watching the restored "Il Bidone" tonight. It had been two years since I watched the 90 minute version, and while I still remembered it thoroughly, this new cut is still like watching it for the first time. The entire rhythm of the film is completely different with the additional material, and the subtitle translation is dramatically improved as well (at times during the viewing I wasn't sure if it was new dialogue or just a better translation...and of course, it's both cases).

And Franco Fabrizi, I forgot how fun he was in this! I also loved him in "I Vitelloni," and enjoyed his cameo as the barber in "Death in Venice." Can anybody recommend additional films with him (he's in around 100)? I know Antonioni's "Le Amiche" is one, any others? The additional stuff here of him speaking English is great.

Spoilers (don't read the next two paragraphs if you haven't seen the film)

All of the new material really stuck out to me, which was great, but a few scenes in particular were quite pleasurable to see. The additional gas station moments certainly enhance the overall con trip of that day (which was to be the three's last together), and the brief scene where they are at the amusement grounds is such a good touch, preceding the somber nighttime sequence perfectly (even if we still don't get to see Picasso on the carousel). The additional few minutes and seconds with the daughter are indispensible. I also really like the addition in the third act of having all of the con men see the crippled girl in the living room together (which makes Augusto's ultimate con a tad more pressing as we now see them all together with her, each one showing at least a touch of sympathy). The ending, which for me has always been wonderful, is also extended by about a minute, with close-ups and additional dialogue of Augusto lamenting his inevitable demise. It's just great, I love it.

For me the sole squeeky wheel (in what I now consider a perfect film) is that we don't find out that Iris left Picasso, which is what happens in the longer cut. It's a shame that the scene between Masina and Crawford still isn't there (did Fellini ever provide a good reason for cutting it? In interviews he said that it no longer fit the film after a few scenes were gone, but I'd like to know more, I think it still should be there), but the minimum we need are a few seconds of dialogue after Crawford asks about Roberto, and for somebody to tell him that Iris left Picasso. But this doesn't detract, the film plays beautifully in this cut, but I'd like that detail in there. Perhaps I'll be able to read those scenes in script format someday.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 4:54 pm 
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Dylan wrote:
Perhaps I'll be able to read those scenes in script format someday.

I found a book containing the scene with Augusto and Iris! I wasn't even trying to find it. I was just in a bookshop today looking at an old book on Fellini I'd never read, and there it was. (Federico Fellini: An Investigation into his Films and Philosophy by Gilbert Salachas. It was only $1 but someone seems to have spilled coffee or something on it and stained the edges of all the pages.)
Anyway, let's see how fast I can bang this out. (Note: elipses are from the original.)

Quote:
The action takes place just before the second scene of the false treasure. This text gives the lie to the optimistic expectations concerning the disappearance of Picasso. He did not, after all, leave his accomplices in order to mend his ways and live a happy and honest life with his wife and daughter.
A street

Augusto is waling in a busy street. Dusk is falling . He enters a grocery store; a little girl runs smack into his legs. He has to step aside to keep from knocking her over, and he immediately recognizes her as Silvana, Picasso's daughter.
Augusto: Silvana. (And then immediately discovering Iris.) Ah! Good evening.
Iris (coldly): Good evening.
A: You've been all right?
He extends his hand to her, but Iris, perhaps to avoid shaking hands with him, takes hold of her daughter's hand.
I: Yes. (to Silvana) Where are you off to? Come.
A (who has not failed to note Iris's coldness, continues more curtly) I've been looking for your husband all day long ... You've moed? ... (And since she doesn't answer, he believes she wants to hide their new address from him.) Fine. Just tell him that I've come back. Good evening.
He takes a step, as if to withdraw.
I (in a tone that reveals her emotion) I can't give him your message. I am no longer living with my husband. I am staying with my mother now. Good evening.
She starts off, and he rejoins her.
A: Where has he gone?
I (continuing to walk, with Augusto at her side): He must be at the hotel, but he is always changing ...
A (insistent): BUt you've not seen him again at all? How long has it been?
I (still looking straight ahead): Yes, yes, from time to time he comes to see us ...
They continue walking for a moment without speaking, and then:
A (speaking rapidly, but with a smile): The poor fellow ... he was very attached to his daughter ...
I (at once, and in a choking voice): To me too ...
A (looking at her from the side, bitterly and a little spitefully): Perhaps it's better this way. ... He got married too young. At his age, with a family on his shoulders!
I (who stops walking): For what we needed, me and the child, there was no need to steal!
August grows harder as Iris lets her bitterness burst forth.
I (in a slightly trembling voice): If he really loves us, he will change his ways.
A (with a sarcastic smile): There's no going backwayrd. If you really care for him, you would do best to take him back immediately. the way he is. Freedom is too beautiful. Once you've tasted it, you can't give it up.
I: Then in that case it's best if he goes on by himself; but (she looks at him) ... he wasn't like that before he took up with you. ... It's you ...
A (interrupting her): And who forced him to?
I (continuing as if Augusto hasn't said a word): Well, too bad. The child, I'll take care of her. ... If I were to fall sick or be awake all night or smoke like a madwoman or wait ...
She notices that she has a lighted cigarette in her hand; she throws it away and stamps on it.
A: If your husband had only brought back money to you, everything would have been all right. When men make money, you don't abandon them. The more you steal, the more women are attached to you. ... Ah, then we are not abandoned. ...
I (interrupts him, upset. She is still aggressive, but says with great simplicity): Such women act only out of personal interest; they do not really love.
A: That, I no longer believe! Not at my age. ... We know very well that the only thing that matters is (he looks into her eyes) money. Everything else is a joke. (Unknown to him, his voice becomes very moving, and takes on a kind of desperate grandeur) If you have it you are handsome, intelligent, honest, and you have the right to everything. He who has money has everything, but he who doesn't have nay is a poor wretch. He will never have anything. (He continues in a lower tone, his eyes shining.) It's beautiful, money! It's everything!
I (taking a step backward, frightened, then gathering up her courage, says calmly): That's not true.
She goes off.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 8:17 pm 
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Gregory,

What a great find! And thank you very much for posting it.

I'd still like to know Fellini's entire reason for cutting this from the release print (the mere fact that 'it no longer fit the film' doesn't really flow with me, this would've been a good addition). I wonder if it's possible that this scene exists somewhere in the Cinecitta vaults, where apparently the surviving deleted scenes from his films are being kept. We'll probably never know unless a company like Criterion/NoShame does a definitive DVD treatment of "Il Bidone" in the future (it definitely needs one, as all films with different cuts do).


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 Post subject: Forthcoming: Il bidone
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 1:26 pm 
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MoC release coming soon, per the latest Sight & Sound


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 1:48 pm 
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Wonderful news - I love this film and eagerly await the specs.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:46 am 
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Coming in September:
MoC Twitter wrote:
a new restoration on Blu-ray and DVD of Federico Fellini's '50s masterpice IL BIDONE. It will be stocked full of new supplements and extras.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 3:06 pm 

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I guess they have a lot more to announce but at the moment:

  • Beautiful new high-definition master
  • Optional English subtitles
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • 36-PAGE BOOKLET featuring the words of Federico Fellini, rare imagery, and more!


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 5:20 am 
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Pushed back to December 2nd release now...


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:46 am 
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Now as a dual format (BR/DVD) package is pushed again to 30th December...


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:47 am 
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ellipsis7 wrote:
Now as a dual format (BR/DVD) package

Victory!


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 Post subject: Re: BD 66 Il bidone
PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 9:06 am 
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There was I thinking (DVDwise) that the CC March announcements would be the highlight of the day, when my preordered copy of MoC's Dual Format IL BIDONE arrives in the post (a full 2 weeks before street date)... First spin on the deck points to typically top quality - further excellent work by MoC & a valuable addition to the collection!... Roll on ROMA in February...


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 Post subject: Re: BD 66 Il bidone
PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 5:04 am 
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Beaver


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 Post subject: Re: BD 66 Il bidone
PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 6:24 am 
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Quote:
Franco Fabrizi, I forgot how fun he was in this! I also loved him in "I Vitelloni," and enjoyed his cameo as the barber in "Death in Venice." Can anybody recommend additional films with him (he's in around 100)?

I disagree. Not so handsome and charming as film directors and scriptwriters put him always in supporting roles and very, very supporting characters. He appears in some masterpieces Cabiria Nights, Un maledetto imbroglio, Una vita difficile… but I can not remember him in a lot of good films he did: Il moralista, i complessi, Signori e signore, Io la conoscevo bene.
I only remember perfectly two roles: the seductive tramp Gigolo to a Politician (the great Franca Valeri) in Gli onorevoli; and the business man with rich friends enjoying dolce vita, Lizzani's vision, in Roma bene.

Luis García Berlanga, who directed Fabrizi in Calabuch, described him as "faggot and son of a bitch" in a long interview he made for Nickelodeon magazine in 1997 or 98. I can quote the exact text if it's required (tomorrow).


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 Post subject: Re: BD 66 Il bidone
PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 5:28 pm 
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It seems that James White didn't came to MoC alone : Il Bidone authoring was supervised by his Arrow colleague David MacKenzie.


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 Post subject: Re: BD 66 Il bidone
PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 5:33 pm 
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rohmerin wrote:
Luis García Berlanga, who directed Fabrizi in Calabuch, described him as "faggot and son of a bitch" in a long interview he made for Nickelodeon magazine in 1997 or 98. I can quote the exact text if it's required (tomorrow).
Well, that hardly seems appropriate for a children's magazine.


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 Post subject: Re: BD 66 Il bidone
PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 9:01 pm 

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I hereby nominate Gregory for the Criterionforum.org "Spit take of the Year" Award! :D


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 Post subject: Re: BD 66 Il bidone
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2017 12:15 pm 
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I wasn't really feeling this for the first hour or so but then it took that right turn in the last act and showed itself to be a wonderful portrait of patheticism. I haven't seen the shorter cut but I imagine a better film could be made from what we have here by drastically reducing all of the Basehart/Masina homelife scenes, which end up being unnecessary as the film sheds all of its characters save one. The first half of the film is used to build up the world of Crawford and associates, show his relative ease with being a scoundrel, and then allow for the contrast to his rapid downfall into a spiral of mistakes and retribution. So we need a lot of the camaraderie and peeks at the underworld interconnections, but the Basehart scenes take up time and energy in showing what Crawford's story will more effectively relay in how this lifestyle can ruin a family. Even as a counterpoint or shadow of Crawford's third act, they fall flat.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
I loved the upending of convenient upbeat narrative direction the last act toys with-- just when you think the film is going to go maudlin, it surprises and delights by doubling down on what a loser Crawford truly is. Fellini pulls off a tricky feat in the film of making some utterly despicable (by any metric of decency) con-men interesting and even sympathetic to a degree, even when they are basically swindling those who are already skirting rock bottom. How beautiful that salvation for Crawford is not only offered and dismissed but violently denied by his own inescapable greed, and the component of personal and public shame to much of his downfall is a fitting punishment. Yet we still feel for this deluded creature, so sure of himself that he believes those who left him to die will be back any minute to help. It's his last con: on himself.


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 Post subject: Re: BD 66 Il bidone
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 2:06 am 
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I started going through Fellini last year, and seeing all the ones I missed, along with the ones I hadn't seen for over 20 years. This is the equal to La Strada, which it resembles except for the purely dramatic tone, but I prefer Il Bidone. Unfairly neglected.


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