Though not well known here in the U.S., Toto' was the stage name of a popular Italian film comedian (some would rank him among that country's most popular) who made dozens of films through the 1940s and '50s. His "proper" name was (get ready for it) Antonio Griffo Focas Flavio Angelo Ducas Comneo Porfirogenito Gagliardi de Curtis di Bisanzio. Or more commonly, Antonio de Curtis. Since many of the films were showcases for his performing talents, they often featured his nickname "Toto'" in the titles. As the title of this film would suggest, Toto' al Giro d'Italia has di Curtis' Toto' character racing in the Giro d'Italia alongside many of the greatest racing cyclists of the era, including Fausto Coppi, Gino Bartali, Louison Bobet, Ferdi Kubler, Fiorenzo Magni, and more. It's a very impressive cast!
There was only one problem. The film is only available in Italian with no English subtitles. OK- so, in YouTube, it is possible to get subtitles (in Italian) - then through the settings, one can get those Italian subtitles "auto-translated" into English. Unfortunately, these "twice-translated" subtitles are only just barely better than useless. If you want to watch this film, you have to work for it!
|"instead print I would like to work this bicycle"|
|"I do not see it badly so I move forward but I go up the hair apples but you're done"|
Still, between the actions and inflections and the mostly ridiculous subtitles, I was able to get enough of the gist to enjoy the film, even though I probably missed a lot of the best gags. If anyone out there wants to take a stab at the film, here's a bit of a synopsis that might help give some context.
|The film opens with a scene in heaven (at least, I assume it's heaven) where the emperor Nerone and Dante are watching the goings on down on earth, as well as commenting on the film's opening credits.|
|As the professor tries to win over Doriana, she tells him "I will marry you when you win the Giro d'Italia" (or at least, that's the best sense I could get from the tortured subtitles). In other words - never.|
|He tries lessons - but it obviously isn't going well.|
|I could be mistaken, but I think this really is Toto' doing the stunt riding in this scene. If so, it's pretty impressive.|
|At the sign-in for the Giro, the professor is mocked for thinking he can race with the pros. In this shot, you can see Toto' flanked by Magni, Coppi, and Bartali.|
|There's lots of footage of the great racers on the road.|
|Effortlessly, the old bearded professor zips past them all. Or "goes up the hair apples" if you follow the subtitles.|
|Flanked by beautiful girls (including Doriana) the old professor pulls on the Maglia Rosa and leads every stage.|
|Coppi comes in puffing like mad on a massive foot-long stogie.|
|Toto, Doriana, and all the great racers celebrate after the race with a fun lip-synched operatic chorus.|
It took a lot of effort, and I know I was missing a lot, but I liked this movie enough that I'd love to find a properly translated version. There are lots of copies on DVD out there, mostly from European sellers (on eBay, for instance), but it isn't clear if any of those have English subtitles, and regardless of whether they do or not, they all seem to be Region 2 discs which don't work on U.S.-market DVD players (U.S. is Region 1). I'm going to keep looking.
If you're up to the challenge (or maybe you actually speak Italian!) I'd recommend giving Toto' al Giro d'Italia a try. You can see the full movie on YouTube, or right here: