The Passionate Thief | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

The Passionate Thief


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


Facets Multimedia Center's two-week retrospective on the Italian comedian Toto (1898-1967) continues with a rare local screening of this trenchant 1960 social drama, adapted from two stories by Alberto Moravia and directed by Mario Monicelli (Big Deal on Madonna Street). The film reunited Toto with the magnetic Anna Magnani, his frequent stage partner during the 1940s, and for one of the few times in his career he cedes the spotlight to someone else, giving an unusually subdued performance as a middle-aged bit actor who's in love with a brassy movie extra. On New Year's Eve, when Rome has become one big party, a petty thief (Ben Gazzara) cajoles Toto into helping him pick pockets and fools Magnani into believing he's attracted to her, and the trio encounter a variety of revelers, including some German aristocrats and a boorish American tourist (Fred Clark). Monicelli takes a number of digs at the church and the dolce vita of the privileged (even poking fun at the Fellini film); his heart is with the little people, who cling to their humor and dignity as means of survival. 98 min. A 35-millimeter print will be shown. Facets Multimedia Center, 1517 W. Fullerton, Saturday, May 12, 7:00, 773-281-4114.

--Ted Shen

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Add a comment