1931-1940ComedyItalian Cinema under FascismItalyMario CameriniRomance

Mario Camerini – Il signor Max AKA Mister Max (1937)


Vittorio De Sica, heir to a large sum of money and owner of a newspaper vending stall, makes enough money out of his business to take a vacation at a fashionable resort. He is given a cruise ticket by an aristocrat who is an old school friend, and is mistaken for the aristocrat when he uses a camera that has his friends name on it. Assia Noris plays a maid who falls in love with him because of who he is and not who others think he is.

Remade as Il Conte Max with Alberto Sordi in the De Sica role and the latter as the uncle.

Another excellent comedy from Mario Camerini. This time Vittorio De Sica’s young Gianni is a fellow who owns a newsstand and has the peculiar habit of yearly taking a vacation in grand style. On a cruise ship he meets a glamorous woman who mistakes him for an aristocrat – he’s borrowed his wealthier friend Max’s camera for the trip, the camera has the friend’s name on it, she glimpses the name, and our man Gianni becomes “Il Signor Max” – and he’s more than happy to play along. How he wants to be a part of this bridge-playing name-dropping world.

Unfortunately playing aristocrat on a cruise ship gets expensive. Gianni runs out of money and when the ship docks he quietly slinks away. Days later the grand lady’s maid buys a newspaper and… hey, aren’t you…?

So the movie becomes one of those comedies where our hero has to pretend to be two different people who just happen to look exactly alike. Gianni still wants to woo the glamor girl, but he’s got to dupe the maid into believing that Max and Gianni are two separate chaps. Things get complicated when the maid begins to fall for Gianni, and a lot of the usual hijinks occur (racing to change out of one outfit into another, etc). But as the great comedy filmmakers have proven time and again what’s lost to originality can be made up for with grace and charm. IL SIGNOR MAX is a delight.

— Karl J. Kipling (Letterboxd)


Subtitles:English, Italian (muxed)

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