La marcia su Roma (March on Rome). 1962. Italy. Directed by Dino Risi. Screenplay by Ettore Scola, Ruggero Maccari, Furio Scarpelli, Sandro Continenza, Ghigo De Chiara. With Vittorio Gassman, Ugo Tognazzi. In Italian; English subtitles. 94 min.
March on Rome is Dino Risi at his most Chaplinesque, a send-up of the violent—and at times ridiculous—rise of Fascism in Italy shortly after World War I. Beggars and swindlers take loyalty oaths in exchange for a square meal or a cigarette, stentorian speeches are made in empty piazzas to audiences of no one, and cries of revolution lead to slapstick street brawls with the Bolsheviks. Such anti-fascist tragicomedies were a popular mainstay of Italian cinema in the late 1950s and early 1960s; films like Mario Monicelli’s La grande guerra (1959), Luigi Comencini’s Tutti a casa (1960), Luciano Salce’s Il federale (1961), Luigi Zampa’s Gli anni ruggenti (1962), and Risi’s brilliant Una vita difficile (1961) struck a chord among audiences who had endured—or supported—two world wars. Archival print from Cineteca Nazionale.