Poggioli, Ferdinando Maria

(1897-1945)
   Director, editor, screenwriter. Having begun as an assistant editor at the newly revamped Cines studios, Poggioli soon contributed to the documentary series initiated by Emilio Cecchi with Il presepio (The Nativity, 1932) and Paestum (1932). At the same time he served as assistant director to Baldassare Negroni on the very popular Due cuori felici (Two Happy Hearts, 1932) and thereafter worked as editor on a number of films including Max Ophiils's La signora di tutti (Everybody's Lady, 1934).
   Poggioli's first solo direction was Arma bianca (Bayonet, 1936), the adaptation of a play on the life of Giacomo Casanova by Alessandro De Stefani. This was followed three years later with Ricchezza senza domani (Wealth without a Future, 1939), which told the rather curious story of an industrialist who resolves his marital crisis by donating his factory to his workers. His third feature was Addio giovinezza! (Farewell, Youth, 1940), a lively but melancholic evocation of student life and first love in Turin in the early years of the 20th century, adapting a popular play by Sandro Camasio and Nino Oxilia that had already been filmed three times during the silent period. Poggioli's close attention to the formal qualities of the film's visual composition immediately placed him in the camp of the so-called calligraphers. There followed Sissignora (Yes, Madam, 1941), La morte civile (Civil Death, 1942), and La bisbettica domata, an inventive adaptation of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew set in contemporary Rome. Le sorelle Materassi (Materassi Sisters, 1943), a fine adaptation of one of Aldo Palazzeschi's best-known novels, was followed by what many believe was Poggioli's most stylistically mature film, Gelosia (Jealousy, 1943), adapted from a novel by Luigi Capuana. His last film, Il cappello da prete (The Priest's Hat, 1944), a dark drama of murder and remorse also adapted from a 19th-century novel, was not shown until after the end of the war. By that time, what promised to be a most fruitful career had been unexpectedly brought to an end by Poggioli's tragic death in February 1945 in an accident involving gas. The field remains divided between those who claim it was a domestic accident and those who assert that it was will-ful suicide.
   Historical Dictionary of Italian Cinema by Alberto Mira

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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