Operation San Gennaro. The film

Operation San Gennaro is a 1966 film by Dino Risi, with Totò, Nino Manfredi, Senta Bergere, Mario Adorf, Enzo Cannavale, Dante Maggio.

Three Americans, a woman and two men, arrive in Naples to rob the treasure of San Gennaro. They ask the boss Don Vincenzo (Totò) for advice, who directs them to Armando Girasole, known as Dudù (Nino Manfredi).

The coup is carried out on the night when the “Song Festival” monopolizes ordinary people and the police in front of the TV. Everything seems to go smoothly except for a small detail, but of great importance: the best keepers of the treasure are the Neapolitans.

The songs presented at the Naples festival of the year to which the film refers (1966) and which can be heard in the background in some scenes are:

  • Ma pecché, sung by Iva Zanicchi;
  • Ce vo’ tiempo, sung by Peppino di Capri;
  • A pizza, is played by Giorgio Gaber, who was curiously paired with Aurelio Fierro at that festival.

The winner of the Neapolitan song festival that year was Bella, sung by Sergio Bruni and Robertino, as announced with euphoria by “Il Barone”.

Dismissed by national critics, the film was awarded for directing at the 1967 Moscow Film Festival.

Paradoxically in the popular imagination the treasure of San Gennaro, while representing seven centuries of donations from popes, emperors, queens, kings and considered one of the most important treasures in the world, has become famous and legendary thanks to this film, even if obviously the places and masterpieces, shot in the film, are pure fantasy.

In fact, when Dino Risi, now ninety years old, came to the Museum of the Treasure of San Gennaro in 2006, to present the restored version of the film to the press, he confessed that before the filming of Operation San Gennaro he had never been to Naples.