Sordi, Alberto

(1920-2003)
   Actor and director. Probably the most prolific and certainly one of the most popular actors of the Italian silver screen, Sordi (or Albertone, as he was affectionately known) appeared in close to 150 films in a career that spanned over 60 years.
   Frustrated by the limited success of his precocious attempts to establish himself on the stage, Sordi moved to the cinema and was appearing in films as an extra in his late teens. A first break came in 1937 when he was chosen to dub the voice of Oliver Hardy in Italian versions of the popular MGM Laurel and Hardy films. He took on minor parts in Fyodor Otsep's La principessa Tarakanova (Princess Tarakanova, 1938) and Carlo Campogalliani's La notte delle beffe (The Night of Tricks, 1939) before being offered his first significant role as an idealistic young pilot in Mario Mattoli's war film, I tre aquilotti (The Three Pilots, 1942). In the immediate postwar period he began working again as a dubber of Hollywood films, lending his voice to many first-rank American actors, among them Victor Mature, Robert Mitchum, and Anthony Quinn. He also performed character sketches in stage revues but achieved his first real success on the radio, through his creation of a number of fictional characters who anticipated in many ways those he would play in later films. After appearing in a strong supporting role in Renato Castellani's Sotto il sole di Roma (Under the Sun of Rome, 1948), he finally began to make his mark in two of Federico Fellini's early films, in the title role of Lo sceicco bianco (The White Sheik, 1952) and as Alberto, perhaps the most woeful of the five layabouts in I vitelloni (Spivs, 1953), an intepretation that brought him his first Nastro d'argento.
   From this point his film career really took off in earnest as he furiously set about creating that gallery of fundamentally flawed but amiable characters with whom he would come to be so closely identified. In 1954 alone he appeared in over a dozen films, which included Mario Mattoli's farcical Due notti con Cleopatra (Two Nights with Cleopatra, 1954), in which he played the male lead opposite Sophia Loren in one of her first substantial roles, and Steno's Un americano a Roma (An American in Rome, 1954), in which he gave life to one of the most typical of his early characters, the ebullient, if rather misguided, Nando Moriconi. In the same year, while acting the title role of Franco Rossi's Il seduttore (The Seducer, 1954), he met screenwriter Rodolfo Sonego and initiated what would become a lifelong partnership between them, with Sonego subsequently working on the screenplay of practically every film in which Sordi appeared from then on. With over 60 films already to his credit by the late 1950s, Sordi came to occupy a central position in the development of the commedia all'italiana, contributing with his ever more mature acting style and nuanced character delineation to creating many of the great classics of the genre and giving particularly memorable performances in films such as Dino Risi's Una vita difficile (A Difficult Life, 1961) and Mario Monicelli's La grande guerra (The Great War, 1959), for which he received both a Nastro d'argento and a David di Donatello. After apppearing in a host of other commedie and as the Italian count, Emilio Ponticelli, in Ken Annakin's Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines (1965), Sordi made his own directorial debut with Fumo di Londra (Smoke over London, 1966), a witty comedy of manners set in the London of the swinging '60s. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s he continued to appear in films where the most dramatic subjects were inflected in a comic vein, alternating between playing figures like the appalling Doctor Tersilli in Luigi Zampa's satire on greedy doctors who abuse the health system in Il medico della mutua (Be Sick . . . It's Free, 1968) and the hapless husband and father, Giuseppe Di Noi, abruptly imprisoned without recourse in Nanni Loy's Kafkaesque parable Detenuto in attesa di giudizio (Why, 1971). Then, after directing himself again in a comic but caustic denunciation of the arms trade in Finche c'e guerra c'e speranza (While There's War There's Hope, 1974), Sordi provided what many regard as the most outstanding performance of his entire career playing a meek and mild father who becomes a torturer in avenging the death of his son in Monicelli's Un borghese piccolo piccolo (An Average Little Man, 1977), a tour de force of inspired acting for which he again received both a David and a Nastro d'argento. While he may seldom have reached such an intensity again, he continued to perform brilliantly in a host of subsequent films, whether as the prankster nobleman in Monicelli's historical costume drama, Il Marchese del Grillo (Marquis Del Grillo, 1981), or as Arpagon, the great miser, in Tonino Cervi's adaptation of Moliere's classic L'avaro (The Miser, 1990). In addition to a plethora of prizes he received for his role in specific films, Sordi was awarded three special Davids for Lifetime Achievement and a posthumous Nastro d'argento for all his work. Underscoring his contribution not only to Italian cinema but to Italian culture generally, in 2002 he was invested with an honorary degree from the University of Salerno.
   Historical Dictionary of Italian Cinema by Alberto Mira

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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  • Sordi, Alberto — (1920 2003)    Actor and director. Probably the most prolific and certainly one of the most popular actors of the Italian silver screen, Sordi (or Albertone, as he was affectionately known) appeared in close to 150 films in a career that spanned… …   Historical dictionary of Italian cinema

  • Sordi, Alberto — ▪ 2004       Italian film actor (b. June 15, 1919, Rome, Italy d. Feb. 24/25, 2003, Rome), depicted the vices, virtues, and foibles of post World War II Italy in a long career of mostly comic films and was regarded as a national icon. Sordi began …   Universalium

  • Sordi, Alberto — • СО РДИ (Sordi) Альберто (р. 15.6.1919)    итал. актёр, режиссёр. В кино с 1937. Первая большая роль в ф. Три орлёнка (1942). Истинную природу его дарования открыл реж. Ф. Феллини в ф. Белый шейх (1952), где С. сыграл напыщенного и наивного… …   Кино: Энциклопедический словарь

  • Sordi, Alberto — ► (1920 2003) Actor y director cinematográfico italiano. Algunas de las películas que interpretó son El jeque blanco (1952), El soltero (1956), El gran atasco (1978) y El marqués del Grillo …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Sordi — Sordi, Alberto …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Alberto Sordi — (Roma, 15 de junio de 1920 25 de febrero de 2003) ha sido un famoso actor, director y guionista italiano. Junto con Marcello Mastroianni, Ugo Tognazzi, Nino Manfredi y Vittorio Gassman fue uno de los grandes nombres de la commedia all italiana… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Sordi — Alberto Sordi Alberto Sordi (Rome, 15 juin 1920 24 février 2003), est un acteur, réalisateur et scénariste italien. Avec Marcello Mastroianni, Ugo Tognazzi, Nino Manfredi et Vittorio Gassman, il fut l un des piliers de la… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Sordi — Alberto Sordi (* 15. Juni 1920 in Rom; † 25. Februar 2003 in Rom) war ein italienischer Film , Fernseh und Theaterschauspieler sowie Regisseur, Drehbuchautor und Synchronsprecher. Als Kind einer musischen Familie (der Vater war Musikprofessor)… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Alberto Sordi — Infobox actor name = Alberto Sordi caption = birthdate = birth date|1920|6|15|mf=y birthplace = Rome deathdate = death date and age|2003|2|25|1920|6|15|mf=y deathplace = Rome othername = Albertone website = http://albertosordi.itAlberto Sordi,… …   Wikipedia

  • Alberto Sordi — dans le film Sous le soleil de Rome (1948) de Renato Castellani Do …   Wikipédia en Français

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