Amidei, Sergio

(1904-1981)
   Screenwriter. Although probably most remembered for his collaboration on Roberto Rossellini's Roma citta aperta (Rome Open City, 1945, also known as Open City), Amidei was a prolific and versatile screenwriter who scripted more than a hundred films in a long and varied career.
   As a student in the 1920s, Amidei began acting as an extra at the Fert studios in Turin, his first role being one of the many devils in Guido Brignone's Maciste all'Inferno (Maciste in Hell, 1926). He subsequently served as assitant to Brignone on some of the other Maciste films and worked in a variety of other capacities at the Fert studios before moving to France where he was, among other things, assistant to Russian director Alexis Granowski on Les aventures du roi Pausole (The Adventures of King Pausole, 1933) and Les nuits moscovites (Moscow Nights, 1934). After returning to Rome in 1936 he took up screenwriting in earnest, ranging across a wide variety of genres, from Aldo Vergano's historical drama Pietro Micca (1938) to Carlo Campogalliani's playful comedy La notte delle beffe (The Night of Tricks, 1940). He even scripted Camillo Mastrocinque's L'ultimo ballo (The Last Ball, 1941), usually regarded as one of the white telephone films. However, it would be his encounter with Rossellini in 1944 that would prove decisive for his career, with his screenplay for Rossellini's Open City earning him the first of the four Oscar nominations of his career.
   In the following years, Amidei came to work with all the major directors of the postwar period, writing or cowriting films for Rossellini, Vittorio De Sica, Luigi Zampa, Luciano Emmer, Mario Monicelli, and Ettore Scola, among others. His screenplay for Rossellini's Il Generate della Rovere (General della Rovere, 1959) earned him another Oscar nomination. For a short period in the 1950s he also worked as a producer for Colonna Films, a company that he had founded but that folded after producing only a handful of films. Two of the last films he worked on were Scola's Il mondo nuovo (That Night in Varennes, 1982) and Marco Ferreri's Storie di ordinaria follia (Tales of Ordinary Madness, 1981), for which he was awarded a David di Donatello.
   Following his death, an annual prize was instituted in 1982 to honor his memory and to recognize the contribution of screenwriters to the film industry.
   Historical Dictionary of Italian Cinema by Alberto Mira

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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