Synopsis by Eleanor Mannikka
This enjoyable parody of classic fairytales about kingdoms and despotic kings is set in the year 1000 and stars Italy's Ugo Tognazzi in top form as Bertoldo, a crafty peasant who has to outwit the king (not necessarily a difficult job) and others in order to stay afloat and alive. Joining him for awhile is Fra Cipolla (Alberto Sordi), a fake priest out to fleece his flock whenever the opportunity presents itself. Among the many comic episodes in the film is one in which Fra Cipolla and Bertoldo, and little Bertoldino (Bertoldo's son) hide some gold coins in a donkey's stomach and then sell the beast -- now with a certain amount of indigestion -- to a peasant family who are amazed at the end results. The king condemns Bertoldo to death by hanging for this trickery, but at the same time -- and much to his undoing -- he agrees to let Bertoldo choose the tree. That is not an easy task. Months later, Bertoldo arrives back at the king's castle carrying a little potted plant, the tree of his choice, requesting that they let it grow. The talents of Sordi, Tognazzi, and Lello Arena as the put-upon king, carry the full two hours of this royal spoof.
con-artist, deception, hanging, king, peasant, priest