Stanza 17-17 palazzo delle tasse, ufficio imposte
Architect Giambattista Manteghin, actor Romolo Moretti, Prince Pantegani and inventor Leonardo Rossi meet while trying to bribe a tax official out of paying exorbitant taxes. The four get ... See full summary »
Strange things are happening to silent tax collector Dr. Ugo La Strizza. When he finally opens his mouth, we learn that four of his clients are attempting to bribe him with favours. From here on the film leaves Ugo behind (but some of us assumed he was the lead!) and follows the comical losers instead. One of them actually built the tax collectors building, so he tries to get the others to join him in a burglary (stealing taxes in order to pay them back). The second one happens to be a crazy old inventor, so that comes in handy. The remaining two are a self proclaimed prince (looking for a wealthy sponsor) and a has been Western actor. These two only add comic relief.
Preparing and executing a job takes time in any good caper movie, but in this case you often get the feeling they could have wrapped it up in 30 minutes or less. For instance after experimenting with movie-dynamite on their home made safe, they force a recently released safe cracker to join the gang. This old guy tries to get away from them, but does point them towards a colleague who might be more interested (couldn't they have just skipped him altogether?) Enter Lionel Stander as Katanga, the last of these crazy cartoon characters, his gimmick being the steal plate covering the back of his head.
There are some unusual sets (and props) where nothing is quite what it seems. One good sight gag near the start involves the tax collectors rollerskating through their immense file archives. The cinematography is imaginative, although during a Spaghetti Western spoof the cameramen go a bit too far over the top. The groovy score sounds like it's done by Sergio Mendez and Brazil '66 (it isn't). Still it would have been nice if the writers had been a bit more focused and not tried to fit every wacky thing they could come up with in there.