Salce, Luciano

(1922-1989)
   Actor, playwright, screenwriter, film and theater director. After graduating from the National Academy of Dramatic Art in 1947, Salce established a strong reputation as a stage actor, working with directors such as Giorgio Strehler and Luchino Visconti. In the early 1950s he spent several years in Brazil, where he became artistic director of the Teatro Brasileiro da Comedia and directed two films for the Vera Cruz film company, Uma pulga na balanga (A Flea on the Scales, 1953) and Floradas na serra (1954). Having returned to Italy, he resumed his extensive involvement with the theater while also frequently appearing on the screen in small roles in many of the light comedies directed by Steno (Stefano Vanzina). In 1960 he directed his first film, Lepillole di Ercole (Hercules' Pills, 1960), which was soon followed by what many still regard as his two best films, Il federale (The Fascist, 1961) and La voglia matta (Crazy Desire, 1962), both of which helped to reveal the considerable acting range of Ugo Tognazzi, until then largely regarded as a television comic.
   In the following years, while continuing to work in theater, radio, and television, Salce also directed another dozen ebulient, but often uneven, comedies in the satirical vein of the commedia all'italiana. In the mid-1970s, however, he managed to achieve a huge box office success with the first two films featuring the hapless character of Fantozzi, Fantozzi (White Collar Blues, 1975) and Il secondo tragico Fantozzi (The Second Tragic Fantozzi, 1976). Unfortunately, this success was not repeated in any of the handful of comedies he made subsequently, including those in which he worked with Fantozzi actor Paolo Villaggio. His last film was the lackluster romantic comedy Quelli del casco (Those with the Helmets, 1987).
   Historical Dictionary of Italian Cinema by Alberto Mira

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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