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Film / Don Camillo's Last Round

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Don Camillo's Last Round (Italian: Don Camillo e l'onorevole Peppone; French: La grande bagarre de Don Camillo) is a 1955 Italian-French comedy film, the third in the Don Camillo franchise and the sequel to The Return of Don Camillo, directed by Carmine Gallone and starring Fernandel and Gino Cervi once again. It adapts elements from several Don Camillo stories by Giovannino Guareschi. René Barjavel wrote the French dialogues.

In the early fifties in the small Italian town of Brescello, skirmishes are continuing between the priest Don Camillo (Fernandel) and the Communist mayor Giuseppe "Peppone" Bottazzi (Cervi). After staging a theft of Don Camillo's prized chickens in retribution for a political prank pulled by the priest, Peppone decides to enter the big game of politics by standing for national deputy. A winsome young lady comrade sent from the big city to assist him, but the mayor's wife suspects there's more and complains to Don Camillo, who endeavours to remedy the threatened domestic breakdown.


Followed by Don Camillo: Monsignor.

Don Camillo's Last Round provides examples of:

  • The Alibi: Don Camillo knows that Peppone is not the one who stole his chickens because Peppone was in the church at that time. After some hesitation, Don Camillo testifies during the tial to prove Peppone's innocence.
  • The Alleged Car: The car that Peppone drives to go back to the village is ridiculous, so much so that Don Camillo cannot help but making sarcastic comments about it after Peppone picked him up. This prompts Peppone to tell him to get off.
  • Back to School: Peppone has to take the primary school finals because never made it past third grade (equivalent to fifth grade in US schools). He's so nervous he almost fails. Don Camillo trades the correct solutions for political concessions.
  • Badass Preacher: In the World War II flashback, Don Camillo does not hesitate to cross a bridge while the Germans are shooting at him.
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  • Bait-and-Switch: After Don Camillo humiliated Peppone, the communists seek revenge. They agree that the appropriate answer is "physical elimination". Then a man enters the church at night while Don Camillo is asleep inside. He has a long object hidden under his coat. Everyone expects that he will pull out a rifle and shoot Don Camillo down. Instead, he pulls out a candle. And the communists decided to carry out the "physical elimination" of Don Camillo's chickens.
  • Big Secret: Peppone is the prime suspect in the theft of chickens. He has an alibi: he was in the church at the time of the theft, but he does not tell the police, because a communist leader would lose face if he confessed that he lit a candle to get elected. Finally, Don Camillo tells the court that Peppone was in the church.
  • Book Dumb: Peppone has a major problem standing on his way to the parliamentary elections: he never had his primary school certificate, which is a minimal requirement to become candidate for said elections. And he's struggling for his exam. Camillo decides to help him, right amidst the exam, though not without expecting political concessions as retribution from Peppone. In spite of his little schooling, Peppone is elected deputy in the end.
  • Book-Ends: In the beginning, Don Camillo buys communist newspapers with a fake banknote. In the end, Peppone gives it back to him as a tip for carrying his suitcase.
  • Brick Joke:
    • In the first scene, Don Camillo uses a fake 5000 Lire bill to buy one of Peppone's communist newspapers. The bill is forgotten about afterwards until, at the end of the movie, Peppone hands it back to Don Camillo as 'payment' for Don Camillo helping him carry his suitcase.
    • Peppone picks up Don Camillo who was hitchhiking. Since the priest constantly provokes him, Peppone tells him to get off and to wait for the pope's car. But Don Camillo sabotaged Peppone's car and he manages to take hold of the vehicle a bit later. He leaves Peppone alone on the road and he tells him to wait for Lenin's car. Much later, Don Camillo and Peppone are looking for Peppone's wife. When they find her, Peppone goes back to the village with her on a motorbike and he leaves Don Camillo alone on the road. He tells Don Camillo to wait for the pope's car.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Peppone is obviously attracted to the young female comrade that the party sent to assist him. When they talk together at night, he tries to tell her about his feelings, but he never dares to and keeps on talking about politics. The woman is obviously disappointed.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The chickens. They appear early in the film, when Don Camillo tells that he will eat them to celebrate Peppone's future defeat. They become important later, when the communists decide to steal them.
  • Confessional: In the flashback, a wounded German soldier wants to meet a priest before dying to confess. Don Camillo takes great risk to meet him.
  • Continuity Nod: There are several allusions to the previous episodes.
    • During the electoral speeches, Don Camillo says that he cannot ring the bells like last time (a reference to the first scene of Little World of Don Camillo).
    • In the end, Don Camillo says goodbye to Peppone at the train station and he remembers that Peppone did the same in the end of Little World of Don Camillo, when Don Camillo had to leave the village.
  • Double Entendre: The chat between Peppone and the young female comrade that the party sent to assist him. Peppone asks her if he will witness the fertilization of the earth by the proletarian revolution.
  • Dream Spying: Peppone enters secretly in the church, where Don Camillo has fallen asleep. He lights a candle and leaves. Don Camillo wakes up and tells Jesus that he dreamed that someone entered the church and lit a candle. When he sees Peppone's hat, he realizes that Peppone is the one who entered the church. Then he remembers that, in his dream, the guy who came into the church had a chicken head, so he realizes that the communists stole his chickens.
  • Election Day Episode: Peppone decides to run for deputy. Of course, the "Reaction" (the word communists use to talk about their opposition, i.e. Camillo) cannot let him campaign in peace.
  • Flashback: During his exam, Peppone writes a composition about his first meeting with Don Camillo during World War II. This meeting is showed in a flashback.
  • The Last Title: Only in English. The French and Italian titles are completely different.
  • Mustache Vandalism: Camillo steals Peppone's truck, and finds out the cargo is a giant portrait of his Friendly Enemy mayor that's to be used for the election at the center of the city... When it is unveiled with everyone watching, Peppone's face has a goatee and devil horns drawn on it.
  • La Résistance: In the flashback, Peppone and his communist comrades are part of a group which fights the German occupying forces.
  • Shout-Out: When Don Camillo shows that he is confident that Peppone will not be elected, Peppone quotes the fable The Bear and the Travelers by Jean de La Fontaine.
  • Surprise Witness: During the trial, Don Camillo shows up unexpectedly to prove Peppone's innocence. He tells the judge that Peppone could not steal the chickens since Peppone was in the church at that time.
  • Tank Goodness: In a scene adapted from one of the Giovannino Guareschi stories, Camillo and Peppone find out a farmer is hiding an American M24 Chaffee tank from World War II in his barn (and wants to get rid of it), which they first thought was a German tank until Camillo identified the white star marking. While manoeuvring it, Peppone comments on how good its mechanics were, just before accidentally firing the tank's gun, destroying his peace dove statue in the process.
  • Train-Station Goodbye: In the end, Peppone, having been elected to the Italian Parliament, has to choose between being an MP and a mayor. He chooses the former and takes the train to Rome; Don Camillo is at the next station to say goodbye and a sharp You Can't Go Home Again speech. The trope is subverted, as Peppone gets off the train at the last minute, having decided he'd rather be a mayor in his own village than an MP in Rome.
  • Unreliable Voiceover: In the Flashback, Peppone's voice tells that the priest he met during World War II was very scared, but we see that the priest was Don Camillo and that he did not hesitate to put his life in danger to confess a German soldier.
  • What Does This Button Do?: When Don Camillo is inside the tank, he asks Peppone what the buttons do, until he presses a button which fires a shell.
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: In the flashback, Peppone threatens Don Camillo with a gun because he wants him to reveal what the German soldier said before dying. Don Camillo defies him to shoot.


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