What Rogues Men Are (Gli Uomini, Che Mascalzoni)
The Italian film critic and historian Adriano Apra, who advised Museum of Modern Art Curator Ted Perry in the selection of the films for this series, will give a short introductory lecture (in English) on this retrospective and on Camerini's What Rogues Men Are, as part of his residency here as a Lecturer in the Chair of Italian Culture, Department of Italian.
What Rogues Men Are is considered by many critics to be the best film by Mario Camerini, who himself has been praised by Georges Sadoul (in “Dictionary Of Film-Makers”) as “with Blasetto the best Italian director of the Thirties specializing in somewhat melancholy comedies whose heroes are often ordinary people hoping to meet good fortune.” According to Italian critic Ettore Margadonna, What Rogues Men Are offers “a distillation of the characteristic qualities of a true poet of the petit-bourgeois world. Skilled in portioning out doses of his favorite themes - humanity, sentiment, humor - very able in the handling of the actors, he was happiest in his casting. Vittorio De Sica, already greatly appreciated on the Italian variety stage, began his brilliant career in motion pictures as the lover in this film, a role he was to play for many years with his natural good taste.” The story concerns the quarrels, misunderstandings, and truces between a Milan chauffeur and his beloved, a drugstore clerk played by Lia Franca. The story develops in the grounds of the Milan fair, and bears comparison with the comedies of Rene Clair.