A brilliant opening sequence sets up this comedy of the uptight American executive and the romantic and sentimental Englishwoman. Jack Lemmon flies to Italy to pick up the remains of his father, who has died while away "on business". It turns out, however, that the business he was doing consisted of an annual two-week rendezvous with a mistress of long standing.

Lemmon must get the body back to the U.S.A. for the big funeral "with closed circuit TV and all". But things are not so simple in the land where lunch is a four hour break. The main fun is in watching the continental ambience, and the adaptability and openess of Julie Miles, break down the irritable, rushed American businessman.

It's a broad comedy, with elements of farce - an enjoyable and easy to watch film. Wilder's interest in national characteristics is to the fore, as is his usual cynicism. The film is interesting morally, with its (very continental) gung-ho endorsement of male adultery as a pocket of romance and peace in a life straight-jacketed by social convention. Of course, only Lemmon is married, and the film's resolution, though the executive may go back to his life a warmer, more flexible individual, makes no real critique of his society or its conventions.

Best line: "Is this the way the Italian justice system works?!"
"Let's talk about Sacco and Vanzetti."

Billy Wilder, 1972, Colour, 140 mins.

The party newspaper for the Partito Socialista Italiano (Italian Socialist Party) from 1896 to the party's disintegration following the mani pulite corruption scandals of the early 1990s. For much of its early existence it had to operate underground, but was a large-scale operation by 1912 when Benito Mussolini took over its editorship for a couple of years, before he was dismissed and expelled by the Socialists for going against the party line by opposing Italian neutrality in World War I.

During the Fascist ventennio the paper once more had to be circualted clandestinely, only returning to open publication under the aegis of the Comitati Nazionali di Liberazione (CNL) after Rome fell to the Allies in June 1944. Between then and 1992 it served again as a party mouthpiece for the PSI in its gradual move from hard left opposition to membership of the governing coalition, although becoming less important than the formerly Socialist-run RAI 2 television channel. It still struggles on as a low-circulation independent centre-left newspaper.

The word itself is literally "Forwards!" but is used to some extent as a general exhortation or encouragement to soldiers or sportsmen, an instruction to move along, or (the phrasebook sense) as an affirmative response to a knock on a door (the sense in which it is encountered in the Billy Wilder film noded here by haruspex).

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