Monday, June 13, 2011

1. The Thirties: The Age of the "White Telephones" part six


by Ernesto G. Laura - Compiled by A.N.I.C.A. (National Association of Motion Pictures and Affiliated Industries) Rome, Italy - Edited by CIES Soc. Coop. r.1 (Institute for the Promotion of Italian Motion Pictures Abroad) Rome, Italy under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment

This surreal and "absurd" humor - actually deeply concerned with human values - gave rise to another genre, another variation on the Italian film comedies of the '30s. The credit for discovering this new way of making people laugh again goes to Mario Camerini, who met Cesare Zavanttini at the beginning of his career as a script writer. The film was DARO UN MILIONE [I'LL GIVE A MILLION] and won a prize at the Venice Film Festival of 1935. Vittorio De Sica played the part of a millionaire weary of his wealth, who pretends to be poor and falls in love with a girl from the circus, while Luigi Almirante (the great dramatic actor who starred in the world premiere of Pirandello's "Six Characters In Search Of An Author") is a penniless man in tails who wanders around the world of the rich, making fun of everybody. Fast-moving and exhilirating, the film (set in France for reasons of censorship: poor people couldn't exist in Mussolini's Italy) is a veritable barrage of gags. It was also very successful abroad. Hollywood bought the rights for a remake, I'LL GIVE A MILLION (1938), director: Walter Lang, with Warner Baxter is the De Sica role.

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