Treasure of San Gennaro / Operazione San Gennaro (1966)

5.0 out of 5

Dino Risi helms this incredibly funny and intelligent clerical heist caper before following it up with the witty and well observed The Tiger and the Pussycat which provided an opportunity to witness the talent of Vittorio Gassman playing opposite cute Kitten With A Whip star Ann-Margret.

Capturing Napoli with stunning vibrancy and lingering shots of urban vistas Risi provides a fascinating take on the criminal fraternity and religious observance within the working class and concluding with escalating mayhem befitting of the genre.

Heist scenes within the city sewer network clearly had an influence on Lucio Fulci's How We Robbed The Bank Of Italy and a number of cast members and characters were revisited for a sequel that found Fulci in the director chair with Operation St Peters to which, in comparison, Risi's film is far superior on all levels.

A leading role for Nino Manfredi, star of the engrossing Taxi Driver-like Il giocattolo, and featuring a complimentary supporting cast of talents such as Senta Berger, Totò, Frank Wolff and Mario Adorf makes Operazione San Gennaro an unmissable comedy. Dante Maggio and Pinuccio Ardia are among those who reprise roles for Operazione San Pietro the following year. Great stuff.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics