A small town (Brescello) of Lower Emilia, June 1946. Don Camillo, parish priest of the village, is a good priest who certainly does not embody the stereotype of the mild priest of the province: he is in fact impulsive and exuberant, as well as endowed with great strength. Don Camillo remains very irritated and disappointed, as Mrs. Cristina, the old teacher of the country, and the lawyer Stiletti, the only elected opposition councillor, for the victory in the local local elections of Giuseppe Bottazzi, said Peppone, head of the local section of the PCI, as well as an old friend of Don Camillo, although the quarrels between the two are commonplace. The new mayor is in fact his political rival, because Don Camillo, convinced of his good intentions, does not give up meddling in political matters. Don Camillo supports the country's landowners to avoid expropriation; Peppone, on the other hand, defends the cause of peasants and workers, even if, arming themselves with common sense, the two almost always agree. While Peppone runs a rally, accompanied by his collaborators, the abrupt and the thin, to proclaim his political line, after being elected, Don Camillo rings the church bells to prevent the demonstration. The Communists then it seems that they attack the Church, in the confusion of Mrs. Cristina: Don Camillo is weapon of shotgun to intimidate them, but in reality they will applaud from the balcony of his house that shows the Peppone his last newborn son. But even the newborn is source of yet another spat and compromise between the two: Peppone wants him baptize Free Antonio Lenin; Don Camillo does not want to know; eventually the two agree, hurrying the matter in their own way, to Free Antonio Camillo Lenin. The rivalry between the two continues: don Camillo ignites a ruined country house, where he found that Pam was hiding a large amount of weapons of war to use for proletarian revolution, and takes possession of a machine gun. Peppone proclaims in his meetings the project of building a House of the people; Don Camillo, not understanding where the Mayor can find the funds, accuses him of embezzling 10 million lire, which he had declared seized by fascists during the war. The Mayor then presents to the priest a certificate to declare the use of the money still in his possession for the construction of the casa del popolo, but Don Camillo forces him, threatening him with a gun, also built a garden city for the children of the country and Pam gives in. Montano Meanwhile protests by the unemployed. Pam and the City Council, low on funds, agree to tax the lands of landlords to 1,000 lire to Emmanuel William: largest landowner in the area, twisted cords, opposes and Communists reacted with a strike. The strike of agricultural workers, who refuse to cultivate the fields and milking cows of the property owners at risk of causing death (will be saved in secret by don Camillo and Peppone) intersects with Mariolino Della Bruciata and Gina Filotti's story , two young lovers, who can not get married because they fail to gain the support of families, including running political rivalry: Mariolino's father is a contributor to Peppone, while Gina's grandfather is a trusted friend of Don Camillo. The strike ends, but coming into the country, now late, some Communists from the city, Pam had called as reinforcements. They stop in the town but still commit the lightness to make fun of Don Camillo. The priest, upset, knocks on a table: it follows a fistfight nothing short of epic and Don Camillo sends 15 to the hospital, earning the Bishop's admonition, warned by Peppone of stunt Parson. The Filotti and Della Bruciata should be reconciled by Mrs. Cristina, where the two young men are asking to try mediation. However, when the Lady dies after a fall after a while, the opportunity fades. The old teacher, a fervent royalist, had made me promise to Pam to use the Royal flag during his funeral and, despite the opposition of his collaborators, Peppone respects the last wishes of the deceased. The Filotti and thus prohibit Mariolino Della Bruciata and Gina's wedding to, which are stopped by Peppone and don Camillo trying to commit suicide, throwing himself into the Po. The priest promises the two will be married by the Bishop, who was visiting the country for the inauguration of the House of the people and the City Garden. Peppone sympathizes with the Bishop, accompanying him in town which witnessed the inauguration of casa del popolo before celebrating the marriage between the two, disappointing don Camillo. On the evening of the wedding between Gina and Mariolino, Don Camillo takes part in a brawl between the landowners and the men of Peppone: Bishop, who had already warned for previous brawl with the Communists of cities, sends it to Montenara, a mountain village.
The film is inspired (often very freely) by some of Guareschi's short stories from the series dedicated to Don Camillo and Peppone.
To be precise, the stories were used:
Sin confessed (1946)
Juliet and Romeo (1947)
Evening school (1947)
The proclamation (1947)
Fake funeral (1947)
Men and Beasts (1947)
The city's (1947)
Pass the "round" (1947)
The Old Teacher (1947)
The Party (1947)
Murder and punishment (1947)
Yellow and Pink (1947)
The exteriors were filmed mainly in the villages of Brescello and Boretto, both in the province of Reggio Emilia.
Distribution Issue Date
In Italy, the film was first screened in public on March 15, 1952.
The following are the titles and distribution dates of the film abroad:
France: Le petit monde de Don Camillo, 4 June 1952 West Germany: Don Camillo und Peppone, 31 October 1952
Japan: Don Camilo (transliteration from katakana), 8 June 1954 Austria: Don Camillo und Peppone, December 1952
Belgium: De kleine wereld van Don Camillo (Flemish title), date not available
The initial aerial view is that of Brescello: the square of the rally is Piazza Matteotti, via Giglioli, the church of Don Camillo is Santa Maria Nascente, the house of Peppone is in Via Carducci, the Cultural Center San Benedetto is a former convent used to simulate the Casa del Po Peppone pole, the train station is the station of Brescello-Viadana.
For the famous sequence of the procession, instead, it was necessary for the director a road that led directly to the banks of the Po: it was preferred then to break the scene in two, with a first part shot in Brescello, which shows Don Camillo starting holding the crucifix, leaving behind Santa Maria Nascente; and a second one where the parish priest meets Peppone with his and together they head to the great river, actually realized in Via Pietro Saccani in Boretto.
The property called "the Burnt" is actually SAIT Estate, located in Lentigione, hamlet of Brescello.
As for the stations seen in the finale, they are located on the Parma-Suzzara railway which at the time of the shooting was a concession line operated by the Veneta Society (SV). Don Camillo takes the train to the village station, which has the composite name of Brescello-Viadana. In reality, the subsequent stations should be Sorbolo, in the direction of Parma, or Boretto, in the direction of Suzzara, but in the film fiction Don Camillo finds his supporters at a station whose exterior is still that of Brescello-Viadana.
The filming of the second station, where the protagonist meets Peppone and the Communists, is that of Gualtieri who, compared to Brescello-Viadana, is in the direction of Suzzara (the next station in Gualtieri is Guastalla), contrary to the one where he should have go, that is, the mountains of Parmesan.
The soundtrack was composed by alessandro Cicognini. The leitmotiv of Don Camillo, mistakenly considered simplistic, even a minor work compared to the compositions of the Abruzzo master for more committed films (Four Steps in the Clouds, Bicycle Thieves, Sciusà,Umberto D., etc.) has as refrain a religious song theme, rhyme on the sound of the bells; in the finale, it is even sung by the white voices that accompany the faithful who went to greet Don Camillo at the station ("the swallow wants to leave, in Primavera will return... go back to our hearts, go back to our love." If the film is remembered, it is also undoubtedly due to this tune, which remains etched in the memory. Unfortunately, however, the original score had been lost and it was not until 2009 that it was reconstructed, starting from the recordings of the scenes of the film. The music, performed by the Alexandria Conservatory Symphony Orchestra, was recorded and released on a CD, produced by Cinevox Record.
In all five films that make up the series, Fernandel (at the time usually voiced by the Genoese Lauro Gazzolo), is voiced by Carlo Romano, also known as the Italian voice of Jerry Lewis. The reason apparently resided in the fact that apart from Lewis, Roman was usually stout and strong dub actors (she had a voice like a person "from a certain weight", as indeed was Roman physically) and considering the controversy arose about whether Fernandel was too skinny and thin to embody the impressive priest created by Guareschi, the "big voice" by Romano contributed (as the shots investigated by Duvivier) to "obscure" a little thinness of the actor. It also seems that the Cadence Emilian dialect did not succeed too well to Gaines. To give a voice sufficiently charismatic to the crucified, it was decided to entrust the dubbing to Ruggero Ruggeri, one of the most important Italian actors of the era (Ruggeri will be the voice of the crucifix in the next movie, the return Don Camillo, while will be replaced by Renzo Ricci in the last three episodes of the saga). In the French version, on the other hand, the voice of the crucifix was, in the first three films, that of Jean Debucourt (1894 – 1958), a fine actor and theater director of the Comédie-Française, replaced in the quarter by Paul-Emile Deiber Regista (1925-2011), which had been a student of Deboucourt. The narrator's voice is that of Emilio Cigoli (and its also the next two sequels, while will become that of Sergio Fantoni in the fourth film and Riccardo Cucciolla in fifth).
The French version features scenes that do not appear in the Italian version. For example: when the two enemy friends milk the cows in the "occupied" stable, in addition to milking them, Don Camillo also gives birth to a calf; the final sequence of the attempted suicide is longer and more dramatic (Gina and Mariolino are best shown when they dive into the river to kill themselves). When Don Camillo beats up with the communists who came from the city for the strike, the scene is longer; after Peppone's confession, football, which in the Italian version is understood more than to be seen, is seen very clearly; Ms Cristina's funeral is longer and more accurately filmed; as well as with the crucifix, there is a very brief dialogue between the pastor and the statue of Our Lady. In the English version, the narrator is Orson Welles.
The film had four sequels, for a total of five films plus one unfinished due to Fernandel's sudden death:
The Return of Don Camillo (1953)
Don Camillo and Mr Peppone (1955)
Don Camillo Monsignor... but not too much (1961)
Comrade Don Camillo (1965)
Don Camillo and today's youth (1970) (unfinished)
Ivana Rossi, Around Don Camillo. Guide to the "Little World" in Guareschi, Milan, BUR Rizzoli, 1994.
Ezio Aldoni, Gianfranco Miro Gori, Andrea Setti, Enemy Friends. Brescello, small world of celluloid, Municipality of Brescello, Brescello, 2007.
Riccardo F. Esposito, Cinecittà on the Po, in Don Camillo and Peppone. Film Chronicles from Lower Padana 1951-1965, Recco, Le Mani, 2008, pp. 17-38.
ANICA Archive Data
Riccardo F. Esposito, Voices and Charisma, in Don Camillo and Peppone. Film Chronicles from Lower Padana 1951-1965, op. C. 33-35.
Egidio Bandini, Giorgio Casamatti, Guido Conti (edited by), Il Don Camillo never seen, MUP, Parma, 2007.
Ezio Aldoni, Andrea Setti, Enemy Friends. Brescello and the films of Peppone and Don Camillo told by the protagonists, Brescello, Studio Digit Brescello, 2008 (documentary film) Raymond Castans, Fernandel m'a raconté, Paris, Edition de la Table Ronde, 1976
Jean Jacques Jelot Blanc, Fernandel. L'accent du soleil, Paris, ?ditions Stock, 1991 Alberto & Carlotta Guareschi, Who dreams of new geraniums? Giovannino Guareschi: Autobiography (from his papers, reordered by his children), Milan, RCS Books, Rizzoli, 1993 Ivana Rossi, In the surroundings of Don Camillo. Guide to the "Little World" of Guareschi, Milan, BUR, Rizzoli, 1994, ISBN 88-17-11190-2.
Vincent Fernandel, Fernandel, mon grand-père, Paris, Midi Pile Editions, 2003
Ezio Aldoni, Gianfranco, Miro Gori, Andrea Setti, Enemy Friends. Brescello, small celluloid world, Brescello, Studio Digit Brescello, 2007
Egidio Bandini, Giorgio Casamatti, Guido Conti (edited by), The Don Camillo Never Seen, Parma, MUP, 2007, ISBN 978-88-7847-022-4
Egidio Bandini, Giorgio Casamatti, Guido Conti (edited by), Giovannino Guareschi's stormy adventures in the world of cinema, Parma, MUP, 2008, ISBN 978-88-7847 195-5
Guido Conti, Giovannino Guareschi. Biography of a writer, Milan, Rizzoli, 2008, ISBN 9788817019491
Riccardo F. Esposito, Don Camillo and Peppone. Film Chronicles from Lower Padana 1951-1965, Recco, Le Mani, 2008, ISBN