27 December 2001 | ItalianGerry
Five generous Italian rascals.
This film, whose title means "The Angels of the Neighborhood," is an obscure but appealing little piece that was imported by I.F.E. only to be shown, badly dubbed in English, on U.S. television under the title "The Five Angels". It is about five little boys, war orphans living in a cellar, who survive by their wits in postwar Italy and find one day a German cache of money. They make the mistake of entrusting it to an adult, whom they presume is a friend but is really a thief, spends much of it and wants to take the whole amount. This is in spite some genuine fondness for the boys. Later the kids tire of living the "dolce vita" and start giving the money away to other needy children and buying them gifts. Jacques Sernas plays the greedy adult friend and Rossana Podesta' is a sympathetic lady of the neighborhood whom the thief falls for. When Sernas is sent to jail for a short time for previous thefts, the boys decide to give away their money to the church. The kids and their naive and sometimes goofy antics are a delight to watch and they were well selected by director Carlo Borghesio, who made the equally amusing "Il monello della strada" with comic actor Macario. Marisa Merlini plays Sernas' former flame, and Virgilio Riento is a simpatico doorman. In short, we have here a pleasant trifle aimed at the juvenile audience, with the intention of teaching them Christian generosity, but which is otherwise totally without pretension. Nino Rota, who scored most of Fellini's great films, wrote the music for this one.