Mattoli, Mario

(1898-1980)
   Director and screenwriter. Apopular genre director who came to be associated mainly with comedy and melodrama, Mattoli graduated in law before working as a legal administrator for the Suvini-Zerboni theater company. In 1927 he founded Spettacoli Zabum, a theatrical revue company whose productions attracted the participation of many fine actors, including the young Vittorio De Sica. In 1934 Mattoli initiated what would be an extraordinarily prolific film career by writing and directing Tempo massimo (Full Speed, 1934), a romantic comedy that starred De Sica and Milly and which included future star Anna Magnani in a minor role.
   From then until the war years Mattoli directed a host of light comedies and melodramas, sometimes as many as six films in one year. His first real success, however, came with Imputato alzatevi (Let the Accused Rise, 1939), a film now regarded as something of a land-mark in Italian comedy and that also definitively launched the screen career of popular comedian Erminio Macario. In the immediate postwar period Mattoli directed La vita ricomincia (Life Begins Anew, 1945) followed by a remake of the classic silent melodrama Assunta Spina (1948), with Anna Magnani in the role of the Neapolitan laundress that had originally been played by the silent diva Francesca Bertini. By this time Mattoli had also begun directing Toto in I due orfanelli (The Two Orphans, 1947), the first of 16 films Mattoli would make with the great comedian and which would include such classics as Un turco napoletano (Neapolitan Turk, 1953), Miseria e nobilta (Poverty and Nobility, 1954), and Totb, Fabrizi e i giovani d'oggi (Toto, Fabrizi and the Young People of Today, 1960). Still directing at the rate of three or four films a year, in the early 1960s Mattoli helped to launch the film career of the comic duo Franco Franchi and Ciccio Ingrassia with Appuntamento a Ischia (Rendezvous at Ischia, 1960), while at the same time injecting some comedy into the peplum genre with his Maciste contro Ercole nella valle dei guai (Hercules in the Valley of Woe, 1961). After making close to 90 films in 30 years, Mattoli directed his last film in 1966, a spoof on the then flourishing genre of the spaghetti Western titled Per qualche dollaro in meno (For a Few Dollars Less, 1966).
   Historical Dictionary of Italian Cinema by Alberto Mira

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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