Archive of films The Early Bird Catches the Worm / Il mattino ha l'oro in bocca

2008, 105 min

Section: Official Selection - Competition
Year: 2008

An acidic comedy based on the autobiography of a famous Italian radio host whose highly successful professional career was for years tarnished by the curse of the compulsive horse-race punter. Elio Germano (My Brother Is an Only Child) stars in this stirring tale about a highly unusual individual, set against a faithful backdrop of life during the 1980s.


Florence, early 1980s. Budding DJ Marco Baldini gets an offer from the director of a regional radio station. His first successes on air are not long in coming, but the restless young man gets his real highs far away from the microphone – in obscure bars where punters come in to bet on the horses. As Marco’s passion for the sport increases, so do his debts, until fate shows its friendly face once again. His move to Milan to start his dream job as a national DJ, however, only temporarily curbs his penchant for gambling. This fascinating life story, which one of Italy’s most famous radio hosts described in his autobiographical book Il giocatore (The Player), has been transformed by director Francesco Patierno into an elegant acidic comedy. The engaging self-ironic commentary provided by the main protagonist, superbly played by rising star of Italian film Elio Germano (My Brother Is an Only Child), traces the highs and lows of Baldini’s double existence, unfolding against a convincing backdrop of life during the penultimate decade of the 20th century.

About the director

Francesco Patierno (b. 1964, Naples) studied architecture, graduating in 1988, and has been involved in film since the 1990s. In 1996 he made the short film Quel giorno which was screened in Venice and then travelled to over thirty other film festivals. He debuted in feature-film direction with the stirring drama set in a Neapolitan suburb Pater Familias, which was screened at the Berlinale in 2003. That same year, Variety magazine critics included the film in their “Ten to Watch” series, presented at Karlovy Vary. Apart from advertising spots, Patierno has also made television documentaries, a particularly noteworthy example being his distinctive look at South Korea La città perfetta, which he worked on with screenwriter Luca Cambi. The Early Bird Catches the Worm is his second feature film.


Istituto Luce Cinecittà
Via Tuscolana 1055, 00173, Rome
Tel: +39 067 228 61
Fax: +39 067 222 493

Rodeo Drive
Via Alberico II, 3, 00193, Rome
Tel: +39 06 454 497 67
Fax: +39 06 681 347 64

About the film

Color, 35 mm
International premiere

Section: Official Selection - Competition
Director: Francesco Patierno
Screenplay: Francesco Patierno, Marco Baldini podle románu Il giocatore Marca Baldiniho / based on the novel Il giocatore by Marco Baldini
Dir. of Photography: Mauro Marchetti
Music: Pivio & Aldo De Scalzi
Editor: Renata Salvatore
Producer: Marco Poccioni, Marco Valsania
Production: Rodeo Drive
Cast: Elio Germano, Laura Chiatti, Martina Stella, Carlo Monni, Gerardo Amato, Corrado Fortuna
Contact: Istituto Luce Cinecittà , Rodeo Drive


Francesco Patierno

Film Director

Serena Mazzi

Film Institution Rep.

Elio Germano


Silvana Tucci

Film Institution Rep.


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