Gli uomini, che mascalzoni...

What Rascals Men Are!
by Mario Camerini Fiction Italia 1932 63'

The temporary title of Gli uomini che mascalzoni (What rascals men are!) was Taxi. Ludovico Toeplitz says if he had been more experienced he would have entitled it Parlami d'amore MariuÌ€ (Make love to me, MariuÌ€,). This explicit reference to Cesare Bixio and Ennio Neri's song, which Vittorio De Sica sings dancing with Lya Franca to the rhythm of a player piano, points out the film's involvement with the media. The tune will recur over and over again throughout Bruno and Mariuccia's romance. The film seems to be obsessed by means of transport and media, symbols of the growing mass society. As to the means of transport, the title Taxi would have been even too explicit. We can't help recalling a scene, when taxi-driver Cesare Zoppetti (Tadino, Mariuccia's father) makes a polemical remark about a coach driver, defin- ing him as "one of those who take the bread out of our mouths". Then the double trip to and from the lake, marked by constant and worried looks at the mileometer but also by the images of the tyres on the road, up to the crash into a cart. If we go back a little, it is paradigmatic the juxtaposition of bicycle and car, which makes Bruno give himself a second chance and drive his master's car to Mariuccia's perfume shop. Earlier in the film, it is crucial the scene of the bicycle racing the tram down Corso Sempione, when Bruno is hopelessly running after the girl. An episode apart is when De Sica is working as a chaffeur, dressed in a uniform matching the car's colour. Just when he seems to have accepted his fate, he decides to resign leav- ing his master, who is not able to drive, in the middle of a traffic jam. Some necessary quotations: the sequence of the bumper cars, where the jealousy of the supposed rival takes to a series of violent crashes; and the final scene, when Vittorio De Sica and Lya Franca don't realize they are getting into her father's taxi, with the consequences that follow. The media are largely represented by the press and publicity. The image of the newsagent's at the beginning recurs several times throughout the film to show us the most popular tabloids, from "Cinema Illustrazione" to "Il Secolo Illustrato", from "Novella" to "Piccola", which Mariuccia reads on the tram. Publicity dominates through commercial notices: from graffiti to neon signs, from billboards to fair stands. From the very first shots you are able to recognize brand names such as Birra Italia, (beer), Soratti Mobili (a furniture factory), Acqua Giommi (water). When the shop-assistants of Bertoni-Torino-Milano perfume shop turn round the corner, you see the bill of Za-Bum show and La Rinascente poster (a department store). You run several times into Panettone Alemagna's clock. On the way to the lake, billboards are numerous: Zigler Ascensori (lifts), Shell, Vini Bracco (wine) shaped as bottles, Sementi Piante (seeds and plants), Albergo Ristorante Touring (a hotel-restaurant). On the scene of the accident, the Fiera del Levante board (a famous Italian trade fair) falls onto the cart. The shop assistants' elderly beaus meet at the Moka Sherif cafeteria. The fair stands are a triumph of ad- vertisements: Alph, Philips, the trademarks of the companies producing lubricants, machinery and automatic pumps, which is the item Bruno has to publicize in his new job. Even a roller coaster is presented as a "Modern prodigy". The candies' woman displays  a notice saying "Speed: 25 a second". The strange telephone beside Mariuccia's stand is a futuristic perfume sprayer. (o.c.)

Director:

Mario Camerini

Country:

Italia

Film submission

23° Festival

CINEMAMBIENTE

29 May - 03 June 2020
TORINO

Competition registration

 

CINEMAMBIENTE

 
JUNIOR

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