Thursday, April 25th, 2013

You’d probably either need to be Italian or be a serious Italophile to know anything about this person. He is one of the most famous comic Italian actors ever, at least from the previous generation of actors. Now take a deep breath because here comes his formal name: Prince Antonio Focas Flavio Angelo Ducas Comneno De Curtis di Bisanzio Gagliardi. Some with perhaps compromised lung capacity (or memory) also knew him as Antonio De Curtis – a name that can be said in one breath and that he used for himself. He was born in a poor section of Naples as an illegitimate child. The story of this early life is quite amazing and if interested you can find the Wikipedia page about him if you click here.

He was considered a comic genius, sometimes compared to our Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton. Not only that but he was a singer, composed songs and wrote acclaimed poetry. He was acting by the time he was 15 and eventually starred in about 100 movies – probably many of them forgettable other than his presence. There are 3 movies on Netflix (DVD only) and I have watched two of them. The first, Toto’ nella Luna, made in 1958 was just silliness that kind of reminded me of a Marx brothers movie. I liked it enough to watch a second one Dov’e’ la Liberta’ (Where is Freedom). I really liked this movie. While it certainly took advantage of Toto’s comic talents it at the same time has serious parts to it. I highly recommend it. There is another one that I now plan to watch “Uccellacci e uccellini” which translates literally as “Bad birds and little birds” but which Netflix lists as “Hawks and Sparrows.”

As with anyone with such a vast body of work there’s a lot of stuff on Youtube although mostly it is without subtitles and is often hard for me to follow. I did find this one short clip which has subtitles but also, unfortunately, poor video quality. Here is Toto’ selling the Trevi Fountain.

Let me know what you think.


4 Responses to “Toto’”

  1. Steve Burstein Says:

    Toto’ was always one of my favorite comedians, in spite of my not understanding Italian. In the days before the internet and YouTube, I rented his films from an Italian video store.Even if I missed all the jokes, I just loved watching him.

  2. Joe Says:

    Steve, sorry for my long abscence from the blog. I have watched two or three of his movies in the U.S. with subtitles. I got them on DVD from Netflix. He’s a much beloved character. Another italian film that I really liked (an old one from 1954) is “Un americano a Roma” starring Alberto Sordi. I haven’t found it on Netflix unfortunately but I’ll bet there are pieces of it on YouTube. There’s enough physical comedy that you can get a lot of the jokes. Another one is Johnny Stechino with Roberto Beningi. I saw it with subtitles in the U.S. years ago but again didn’t see it on Netflix but I know there are parts of it (maybe the whole thing) on YouTube. Thanks for reading my blog. I’m now back in Bologna and have started blogging after a long hiatus. Ciao.

  3. Suzie juarez Says:

    Just discovered Toto after all these years and what a joy! Appreciated all the information and laughed so much at the Trevi Fountain clip. Thank you.

  4. Joe Says:

    You’re welcome.He was an extremely talented and beloved guy.


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