Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The director of THE UNHOLY FOUR

Enzo Barboni: CIAKMULL L'UOMO DELLA VENDETTA (CHUCK MULL, aka THE UNHOLY FOUR) was the first film I did as director, with a cast of unknowns to be sure, but it didn't turn out badly. It was a good story, a tragic story that I lightened up a bit. I wasn't originally supposed to do it, I don't know who was supposed to. Manolo Bolognini turned it over to me at the last moment when everything was ready to go, putting his trust in my past experience as a cameraman. It was the story of four madmen who escaped from an institution for the criminally insane. I suggested to Manolo that we lighten it up, stick in some comic situations, but Manolo preferred to follow the Western formula, and he permitted me to lighten the tone but not to change it too much. We shot it in three and a half weeks, at Manziana and Torcaldara as always, where all the Westerns were shot, but doing it in such a way that they seemed different places, thanks again to my camera skills. I gave it a certain rhythm, with slow long shots of autumnal views. The actors were Leonard Mann, an American kid with Italian roots, Evelyn Stewart, one of the few Italian actresses with properly Anglo Saxon features, dear, and very well bred. It was a German co-production, and there was also some German actor. Generally, the deal with actors was that if the public goes to see someone who's named Django in the movie, but he's really named Pasquale "Something or Other", it doesn't work, because the public was still stuck on the idea of the American Western, it wanted that strain of exoticism. If we didn't have the real thing, we were obliged to fake it.

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