Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Come rubammo la bomba atomica

There's a certain irony about this Lucio Fulci entry: Working on a directorially anonymous Franco and Ciccio vehicle, in 1966, he had the opportunity to undertake extensive location filming in Egypt. Then, in 1982, having made his name and reputation, he was not able to do anywhere as much shooting in Egypt as he would have liked on Manhattan Baby, a more personal film that serves as both a continuation of many of the themes of its horror predecessors and a conscious repudiation of their more extreme gore and violence.

As for How we Stole the Atomic Bomb itself goes, there's not much to be said: It's a Franco and Ciccio film that as usual spoofs a popular genre or cycle of the time, in this case the superspy film, and is better and no worse than the dozens of others they churned over the course of the 1960s and early 1970s.

The story begins somewhere in the Mediterranean, as a fishing boat crewed by Franco and captained by his grandfather – i.e. Franco in old age make-up – witnesses a US plane crash into the sea nearby. It turns out that the plane was carrying an atomic bomb.

Soon various agents are after Franco, seeking the co-ordinates of the plane. Besides Ciccio, agent number 87 in Spectralis, there are James Bomb (read Bond), Modesty Bluff (Blaise) and Derek Flit (Flint). Meanwhile Franco is being wooed by Cinzia, not realising that she is the daughter of the sinister Dr Yes (No) who has his own plans for the bomb, curiously involving raising the dead...

It's all harmless fun, with the odd moment of inspiration amidst the usual mixture of slapstick, mugging, and linguistic confusion, with our heroes eventually teaming up and steal the bomb for themselves in a typical piece of cynicism or enlightened self-interest that anyone else is better suited to possess it... until the delicious final image.

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