Light silliness comfortably coexists with neorealist socio-economic critiques in Mafioso, a largely unseen (at least stateside) 1962 comic gem from Alberto Lattuada, a filmmaker whose international reputation has largely been predicated on his having co-directed Fellini’s Variety Lights. With this story of Northern Italian auto factory foreman Antonio Badalamenti’s (Alberto Sordi) vacation to his Southern Sicily hometown, Lattuada straddles a fine line between comedy and tragedy, indulging in gags and jokes – such as Antonio’s boss randomly confessing that he actually hails from Trenton, NJ – that bring levity to his otherwise poignant portrait of the sharply regionalized country’s post-war cultural and financial divisions. Having never met her in-laws, Antonio’s urbane blond wife Marta (Norma Bengell) arrives with inappropriate gifts in tow and then rankles the clan by smoking and acting the snob, while Antonio finds himself embroiled in mob business after the local godfather Don Vincenzo (Ugo Attanasio) begins prepping him – to his complete ignorance – for a covert job. The era’s notions of machismo and honor are skewered with deft reverence by Lattuada, who crisply addresses relevant issues of national and personal identity while never neglecting his film’s underlying humor. In the end, though, it’s Sordi’s masterful performance as the blissfully unaware Antonio – a man blinded by his love of home – that ultimately supplies Mafioso with both its high-wire exuberance and humanistic tenderness.