Due mafiosi contro Goldginger

Due mafiosi contro Goldginger
Due mafiosi contro Goldginger

Aka Operacion Relampago (Es), Zwei Trottel gegen Goldfinger (WG), Amazing Doctor G, The (US unconfirmed), Two Mafiosi Against Goldfinger (US unconfirmed)
Edmondo Amati production for Fida Cin.ca (Rome) & Epoca Film (Madrid)
Director: Giorgio Simonelli
Story & screenplay: Alessandro Continenza, Dino Verde, Amedeo Sollazzo
Cinematography: Isidoro Goldberger {Techniscope – Technicolor}
Music: Piero Umiliani
Editor: Franco Fraticelli
Set design: Ramiro Gomez
Cameraman: Gianni Bergamini
Release information: Registered 12.10.65. Italy (15.10.65, 85 mins), Spain (Madrid, 17.07.72), Germany (08.05.70 – 93mins)
Cast: Franco Franchi (Franco), Ciccio Ingrassia (Ciccio), Gloria Paul (Marlene), Fernando Rey (Goldginger), Andrea (Colonel Herman, head of the Secret Service), Rosalba Neri (the secretary), Dakar (Molok), Giampiero Littera (Dupont), Barbara Nelli (Mrs Dupont), John Karlsen (White), George Hamilton [George Hilton] (Agent 007), Mario Pennisi, Luis Pena (an associate of Goldginger), Alfredo Mayo, Les Gingers Girls, Enzo Andronico, Mario Frera, Alfredo Adami, Guglielmo Spolettini [Guglielmo Spoletini], Elisa Montes (Mary), Nino Milano, Mario Boninos, John Karby, Nino Terzo (a policeman), Lino Banfi (an agent), Adolfo Belletti (a hotel concierge)

Franco & Ciccio were an extremely popular Italian comic duo, who appeared in a huge number of productions throughout the 1960’s and early 1970’s. They specialized in parodies of genres that were fashionable at the time, including Spaghetti Westerns (The Sons of Ringo, 66), Epics (I figli dei Leopardo, 65) and gangster movies (Due mafioso contro Al Capone, 65). If something proved popular in the cinemas, you could guarantee that the duo would be appearing in a slapstick take-off a few months later.

Their films are all pretty similar. They tend to involve a large amount of pratfalling, gurning and shouting at each other. They are, to say the least, an acquired taste – and even more so because most of their material is unavailable in anything but it’s original Italian language version. The one film in which they have starred that is widely available in English, Dr Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs (Spie vengono dal semifreddo, 66), just goes to show how much their particular brand of comedy also loses in translation.

Here they play a couple of petty criminals who have been paid to take a photograph of a renowned military strategist, Colonel White (John Karlsen). When they attempt to do so, however, they are appalled to find that someone has replaced their camera with one that shoots bullets! Seeing their target has died they sensibly decide to skiddaddle. A mysterious mute, Molok (Dakar), collects the lifeless body.

Meanwhile, the head of the Secret Service, Herman (Andrea Bosic), is becoming concerned at the way in which several prominent politicians & powerbrokers are becoming traitors. They all seem to have a bizarre microchip implanted behind their left ear, which he surmises is some kind of controlling device. He assigns his top agent, 007 (an early appearance by Hilton, strangely hiding behind a ‘George Hamilton’ pseudonym) to investigate. He doesn’t get very far, being shot by the apparently reanimated White (who wears one of the strange chips).

Franco & Ciccio somehow witness this, are caught by Molok and taken to the headquarters of a wealthy, megalomaniac scientist: Goldginger (Fernando Rey). They are subjected to a short bout of circular saw torture before Goldginger discovers a couple of chess pieces in their pockets. Assuming that Franco is a master at the sport, he challenges him to a game – which inevitably ends in chaos. After much running around and shouting they do eventually manage to escape.

Fernando Rey as the devious Dr. Goldginger
Fernando Rey as the devious Dr. Goldginger

Herman, however, thinks that he can use the hapless pair, and decides that they should infiltrate the madman’s lair (in blackface, natch). Firstly, they have to be trained in the techniques of the sixties spy: camouflage (Franco disguises himself as a sofa), riding bicycles, avoiding the temptation of a femme fatale, rugby and anything else the scriptwriters can dream up.

The starting point for this outing was obviously the phenomenally successful Bond film Goldfinger (64). Amongst the lampoons are the Oddjob-light Molok (complete with exploding shoe to throw at his victims) and Franco painted, Shirley Eaton-style, in gold. There’s also the normal tomfoolery involving booby-trapped cars and secret weapons disguised as everyday objects. I particularly enjoyed the sequence in which the titular tit-heads accidentally have their set of deadly, special issue toiletries swapped by accident, and are left to disarm Molok with a tube of toothpaste. It’s all pretty crude, and the humor never approaches anything resembling wit, but quite enjoyable if you’re willing to enter into the puerile spirit of things.

One thing that is always surprising about the Franco & Ciccio films is that they are generally very well made. This has a great Umiliani soundtrack, superb cinematography and more than adequate direction. It was obviously cheap, but the production values are reasonably high. It’s hard to imagine their British equivalent, the Carry On films, attracting a quality actor like Fernando Rey.

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