The Forgotten: Spies Like U.S.

  • MUBI
Luigi Comencini's oeuvre is just bulging with goodies, a cinematic Santa-sack encompassing multiple genres and tones, in a career running from the late forties to the early nineties. I recently sang the praises of his desperate gambling comedy The Scientific Card Player, but he also made films about Casanova's boyhood, virtual reality and, in Italian Secret Service (1968), the then-resurgent espionage genre, Italian and world politics, and the decline of Italian idealism since the war.Just as Pietro Germi's Divorce: Italian Style was about murder, and De Sica's Marriage: Italian Style took in adultery, betrayal and uncertain parentage, so Comencini's title contains a bitter joke: we know this intelligence service is going to be sordid, stupid and utterly lacking in the accustomed James Bond lifestyle.But we first meet our hero, dashing Nino Manfredi, in the happier times of WWII, saving an English commando (Clive Revill) from a fascist
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