"Tempo Massimo" was the first film by director Mario Mattoli. It is a romantic comedy about a forlorn young professor Giacomo (Vittorio De Sica) who lives with his tyrannical Aunt Agata. His affections are aroused by a woman who literally falls from the sky one day...in the form of Dora (Milly), who parachutes down to the edges of Lake Como. She captures the Professor's heart. But she is engaged to marry a gentleman named Bob...amusingly pronounced "Bawb."
It's hard to keep up with all the frenetic goings-on. Blink, Giacomo develops a passion for sports in order to get closer to Dora. Blink, there is a bicycle race. Blink, the professor is in jail. Blink, and he is hijacking a cab, then a Germans' tour bus in the streets of Milan to snatch Dora away from her groom-to-be. It is a finale that Mike Nichols would later give us in "The Graduate" with Dustin Hoffman snatching Katharine Ross at the last crucial moment in church.
Some of the songs Mr. De Sica croons are very pleasing. The movie has a very frivolous yet very ingratiating air. A young Anna Magnani has a tiny role as a maid. Director Mattoli would later incorporate some of this material into his 1948 Totò film "Totò al giro del mondo."
The movie opened in New York in 1936 at the World Theatre on West 49th Street. It was also shown in the 1978 series of films from the Fascist era, "Before Neo-realism," at the Museum of Modern Art.
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