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Alberto Sordi and Vittorio Gassman wander through World War I as a pair of soldierly shirkers who spend most of their time trying to avoid combat. Mario Monicelli, one of Toto's favorite ushers during the early 50s (Big Deal on Madonna Street), tried his hand at epic comedy in this big-budget dissection of Italian military heroism; the results aren't exactly satisfying (Monicelli's impersonality is largely to blame), though the film did arouse controversy for its alleged lack of patriotism, and managed to share the Golden Lion (with Rossellini's General Della Rovere) at the 1959 Venice festival. 135 min.

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