When you think of Italy you think of love, passion, flair. The country gave us luxury brands like Gucci, Fendi, Armani, Bottega Veneta. It’s home to design houses like Pininfarina and, of course, it’s home to venerated vehicle manufacturers Ferrari, Pagani and Maserati.
It’s this latter brand, perhaps unsurprisingly, or if it is a surprise perhaps go back and read the title of the review, that we focus on for this particular documentary by Philip Selkirk (“Marlice – Eine Vision für Afrik”, “Frankly … Jacky Ickx”).
Maserati: A Hundred Years Against All Odds tells the story of Maserati, from its beginnings under the four Maserati brothers, right through to its current setup under Fiat and alongside Ferrari.
Along the way it has been owned by Detomaso, the former racing driver and he of the famous Pantera car, Citroen and Peugeot and even came under offer from Ford at one point.
Maserati have been on the brink of collapse on a few occasions, this despite a racing heritage that stretches back as far as the brand itself does.
It was in racing, like many vehicle manufacturers, that Maserati made its name. We hear from luminaries like Sir Stirling Moss, John Surtees and others. We also hear from renowned petrol head, and Pink Floyd drummer, Nick Mason.
All of this should make for an interesting documentary. Much like the country, and the brand, it should be full of passion, flair and a touch of madness, and perhaps break down half-way through.
Instead, Maserati: A Hundred Years Against All Odds is just all a bit dull. It isn’t helped by the narration, at least for the English version, which is done by David M. Williamson.
He has a dark, deep voice that would be great for adverts, but for an hour and a half documentary it doesn’t sit very well. Together with the script, the whole thing becomes monotonous. It gives the whole thing the feel of a cheap documentary you’d find being used as filler on Discovery Turbo or somewhere.
This is a shame as there are some interesting points here and there were items I learnt about the brand. But as quickly as you learn it we are on to the next thing and seeing an image of something modern, despite the script talking about something from the thirties.
I felt like I learnt more, and there was a lot more passion, watching AC/DC lead singer Bryan Johnson speak to Nick Mason in his A Life On The Road series on Sky 1.