Total (Flavio Bucci) handles large sums of money every day ... as he's
a bank clerk. Problem is, he's also allergic to money. And yet, when he
sees all the bank's rich customers coming in depositing large sums of
money or getting enormous loans just for being rich, he figures there's
something wrong with the system, especially after he's refused a loan
after all the honest work he's done over the years. So he decides to quit
his job at the bank and avenge himself, the have-not, on those who
"have" and have thus (in his mind at least) mistreated him - and
his prime target is the local butcher (Ugo Tognazzi), who besides his
successful butchery also has a handful of half-legal businesses running on
the side to grant him riches.
Total starts small, with stealing the
butcher's knife, then his hat - but he soon goes bigger and steals the
butcher's young trophy wife Anita's (Daria Nicolodi) jewellery, then even
Anita herself - though he does return her. He pretty much tries to steal
everything but the butcher's money. The butcher is of course properly
shocked by this - but not shocked enough that he wouldn't try to make a
profit out of the situation, sonmething that amounts to insurance fraud
... which is why he soon figures he can't afford for Total to get captured
by the police anymore, so even though he has long figured out his regular
thief's identity he can't give him away.
Total soon figures he can't do
as much harm as he'd like to alone so he pretty much forces professional
thief Albertone (Mario Scaccia) to help him out - but eventually he walks
into a trap set up by an ambitious police brigadier (Orazio Orlando). It's
just, the line-up takes a very unexpected turn when the butcher and Total
face one another ...
On the surface, Property is No Longer a
Theft is of course a fun crime comedy, with its punchlines, a little
bit of slapstick, and plenty of situation comedy in all the right places.
But on closer inspection, the film's also a hilarious socio-political
satire on money and its power to corrupt people, which works so well
because it doesn't present all the answers on a silver platter but asks a
busload of original questions (and not always the right ones) and spins a
highly entertaining yarn out of them. And the whole thing is of course
carried by and elegant yet subtle directorial effort, and the fact that
the actors are all top notch doesn't hurt one bit either.