Permette? Rocco Papaleo (1971) from ICMS

Permette? Rocco Papaleo, which translates as "Allow me, Rocco Papaleo," is a film directed by Ettore Scola about the unfortunate experiences of a working class European man in America. The Character of Rocco Papaleo, played by Marcello Mastroianni, was a boxer in Sicily before he emigrated to Alaska in order to work in a mine. Somehow he and his co-workers end up in Chicago, where he gets separated from his group. Suddenly he walks right under the car of a gorgeous model, Jenny (Lauren Hutton, who practically plays herself here), whose face can be seen on billboards all over the city. She drags him around town for a while, which the naive and good-hearted man interprets the wrong way.

And so begins Rocco's Tour de Chicago, where he never seems to meet nice persons or people without ulterior motives.  The only person with whom he can connect is Djenghis Khan, an old street bum who always carries a bomb around with him. When Khan dies as a result of a policeman behaving like a real dirtbag, Rocco's fuses blow. Since he inherited the old guy's bomb, we can guess what probably will happen next, although it is never shown because the film ends right there.

In hindsight, "Marcello Mastroianni turns Unabomber" might have been a much more intriguing title.

As you may have already guessed I was not too impressed with this movie. I don't know what Ettore Scola, who won or was nominated for numerous film awards, hoped to achieve here. He probably wanted to have a go at America, but by depicting everyone as conniving bastards and making his lead character so naive and so out of touch with reality that he makes Crocodile Dundee seem like a native New Yorker, Scola only managed to create a distance between the characters and the audience that prevents any involvement in the story. Since it all seems surreal, you won't care what happens to Rocco or any other character.

The film remains watchable, though - mainly because it tries to be humorous, something it achieves best during the witty dialogue between Rocco and Djenghis. Add to that the solid performances of the entire cast, full frontal nudity from a gorgeous supermodel, and some above average camera work, and you know why this feature barely manages to climb up to a C- in our rating system. Perhaps this film worked better for its 1971 audience, but I seriously doubt it.

I think we can consider ourselves lucky that Ettore Scola directed and Marcello Mastroianni played the male lead, or otherwise some very nice gratuitous but way too short Lauren Hutton nude scenes, including one of the full frontal variety, might have been lost forever. And losing that, my friends, unlike losing the film itself, would have been a real shame.


  • No Region 1 DVD

  • There is an Italian all-region PAL DVD with Italian audio and subtitles only (sorry no English), and that's the only DVD available as far as I know. The transfer is good but nothing spectacular.



Lauren Hutton delivers full-frontal nudity in one scene, and additional breast shots elsewhere.

The Critics Vote ...

  • No major reviews on file

The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, it's a C-.

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