it is genuinely (and mordantly) funny. Silvana Mangano as a peasant woman with a handful of small children to take care and no husband to provide (and thinking how to have some profit with the male alien she just kidnapped!), or Monica Vitti maliciously insinuating herself into Sordi (as the police chief) whilst she crochets, are some of the many funny moments. In short: the Martians wish they had landed elsewhere because those Italians won't make their life (and their invasion) easy!
THE SCIENTIFIC CARDPLAYER (LO SCOPONE SCIENTIFICO). An Italian oddity from 1972, featuring 2 Americans and 2 Italian stars, in a so-so comedy about card-playing, directed by Luigi Comencini. Each year a rich old lady – Bette Davis, for it is she – arrives in a small Italian town with her companion Joseph Cotton (on autopilot here) to play cards with local poor couple Peppino and Antonia (Alberto Sordi and Silvana Mangano). Each year the couple dream of winning but the old lady always outwits them. This year though things are different – the poor couple are on a winning streak and keep winning, but the rich old lady will not give up and wants to keep on playing, even when supposedly at death's door, doubling up the bet each time. Peppino and Antonia will be ruined if they lose …. It is amusing and keeps the attention, as the whole village gets involved, along with their 5 children. Davis though dubbed is still very Bette – it is in Italian with English subtitles and the there is a neat play-off at the end. Interesting to see Davis and Cotton together again twenty years plus after BEYOND THE FOREST! Sordi and Mangano shine in two well-developed roles, he of course was terrific in those early Fellini's like I VITELLONI and THE WHITE SHIEK, and those comedies like TWO NIGHTS WITH CLEOPATRA with the young Loren, or NERO'S LOST WEEKEND or LA FATE (also reviewed, Italian label), among so many others.
1972 was a busy year for Bette in Europe - she also made MADAME SIN in England and did that lecture/Q&A session at London's National Film Theatre, which I attended - as per my report to Davis label.