Camerini, Mario

(1895-1981)
   Screenwriter and director. One of the foremost directors of Italian cinema in the interwar years, Camerini started writing subjects for films while still in high school. After serving as an infantry officer during World War I, he began working in the cinema as assistant to Augusto Genina, and then for his own brother, Augusto, who helped him to finance his first solo film, Jolly, clown da circo (Jolly, the Circus Clown, 1923). With national film production in decline during this period, Camerini found work at Stefano Pittaluga's Fert studios in Turin, where he directed a number of films on commission, including two of the popular strongman films, Saetta principe per un giorno (Saetta, Prince for a Day, 1924) and Maciste contro lo sceicco (Maciste against the Sheik, 1925). Disagreements with Pittaluga led him to join with a number of other directors to create the independent production company Autori Direttori Italiani Associati, with which he produced Kiff Tebbi (1927), a love story filmed on location in Africa that attracted the sizable sum of 50,000 lire from the Ministry for Education as encouragement. Camerini then directed what is generally regarded as his first major film, Rotaie (Rails, 1929), a powerful, moody melodrama clearly influenced by contemporary German cinema, recounting the redemptive journey of a suicidal young couple. Made silent but rereleased in a sound version in 1931, the film was enormously successful and firmly established Camerini's credentials both at home and abroad. Indeed, on the strength of the film's success, Camerini was invited to Paramount's Joinville studios in Paris to work on a multiple-language adaptation of Joseph Conrad's Victory, and it was here that he was able to familiarize himself with the new sound technology.
   Returning to Italy, he began to work at the new Cines studios, directing Figaro e la sua gran giornata (Figaro and His Big Day, 1931) and Gli uomini che mascalzoni (What Scoundrels Men Are! 1932), the first of a series of well-crafted romantic comedies featuring Vittorio De Sica and Assia Noris for which he would come to be favorably compared with directors like Rene Clair and Ernst Lubitsch.
   Two years later, however, Il cappello a tre punte (Three-Cornered Hat, 1934) brought him into conflict with the authorities. A historical costume drama set in Naples under Spanish domination, and adapted from a novel by Pedro de Alarcon, the film included a number of sequences that Benito Mussolini himself judged as too openly critical of constituted authority, and so the film was obliged to be cut before it could be released commercially in 1935. Whether by accident or design, Il grande appello (The Last Roll-Call, 1936), set and photographed in East Africa just after the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, appeared to offer at least moral support to the regime's practice of militant colonialism. Generally avoiding politics, however, Camerini returned to the winning formula of his earlier comedies and achieved a huge success with Il signor Max (Mister Max, 1937) and I grandi magazzini (Department Store, 1939), both again starring Noris and De Sica. This was followed by Ipromessi sposi (The Spirit and the Flesh, 1941), an elegant adaptation of Alessandro Manzoni's 19th-century novel that is still regarded by many as the definitive cinematic version of this classic text.
   After the disruption caused by World War II, Camerini returned to the cinema and produced a considerable body of work, but he was never able to regain either the critical or popular success of his earlier period. Immediately after the war he made Due lettere anonime (Two Anonymous Letters, 1945), one of the first films to be set within the context of the Resistance. This was followed by Molti sogni per le strade (Woman Trouble, 1948) and Il brigante Musolino (Outlaw Girl, 1950), a dark melodrama starring Amedeo Nazzari and Silvana Mangano about a man falsely convicted of a crime returning to wreak revenge on those responsible for his imprisonment. Following Gli eroi della domenica (Sunday Heroes, 1953), a film about soccer that starred not only an athletic Raf Vallone and a very young Marcello Mastroianni but also the entire A. C. Milan team, Camerini directed the big-budget American-Italian coproduction Ulisse (Ulysses, 1954), with Kirk Douglas playing the lead. After La bella mugnaia (The Miller's Beautiful Wife, 1956), a remake of Il cappello a tre punte that restored the jibes against the authorities that had been originally cut by Fascist censorship, and the heart-tugging melodrama Suor Letizia (The Awakening, 1957), Camerini directed Crimen (1960), a contorted crime comedy set in Montecarlo that, despite the presence of actors of the caliber of Vittorio Gassman, Nino Manfredi, Alberto Sordi, and Franca Valeri, achieved only a very luke-warm success.
   Camerini continued to make a variety of films in the early 1960s including I briganti italiani (The Italian Brigands, 1962), a bandit film set in the Risorgimento period that chose to use American actor Ernest Borgnine in the lead role, and two adventure fantasies set in India, Kali Yug, la dea della vendetta (Vengeance of Kali, 1963) and its sequel, Mistero del tempio indiano (Mystery of an Indian Temple, 1963). However, by the end of the decade he had largely retired from the industry, his last film being one of the Don Camillo series, Don Camillo e i giovani d'oggi (Don Camillo and Today's Youth, 1971).
   Historical Dictionary of Italian Cinema by Alberto Mira

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Camerini, Mario — (1895 1981)    Screenwriter and director. One of the foremost directors of Italian cinema in the interwar years, Camerini started writing subjects for films while still in high school. After serving as an infantry officer during World War I, he… …   Historical dictionary of Italian cinema

  • Camerini, Mario — • КАМЕРИ НИ (Camerini) Марио (6.2.1895 4.2.1981)    итал. режиссёр. В кино с 1920. Первая пост. ф. Жолли, цирковой клоун (1923). В немом кино ставил гл. оор. развлекат. комедии. С утверждением звук, кино начался более плодотворный период в… …   Кино: Энциклопедический словарь

  • Mario Camerini — Born 6 February 1895(1895 02 06) Rome, Italy Died 4 February 1981(1981 02 04) (aged 85) Gardone Riviera, Italy Occupation Film director …   Wikipedia

  • Mario Monicelli — Données clés Naissance 16 mai 1915 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Mario Camerini — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Camerini. Mario Camerini (né le 6 février 1895 à Rome mort le 4 février 1981 (à 85 ans) à Gardone Riviera, dans le Trentin Haut Adige) est un réalisateur italien. Biographie succincte Il est d …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Mario Camerini — (* 6. Februar 1895 in Rom; † 4. Februar 1981 in Gardone Riviera, Brescia, Lombardei) war ein italienischer Regisseur. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben und Werk 2 Filmografie (Auswahl) …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Mario Monicelli — (Februar 2010) Mario Monicelli (Dezember 20 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Camerini — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Alberto Camerini (* 1951), italienischer Liedermacher und Gitarrist Augusto Camerini (1894–1972), italienischer Maler und Regisseur Duccio Camerini (* 1961), italienischer Theaterautor und Regisseur… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Mario Soldati — (* 17. November 1906 in Turin; † 19. Juni 1999 in Tellaro) war ein italienischer Schriftsteller, Drehbuchautor und Regisseur. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 2 Werke in deutscher Übersetzung …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Mario Camerini — (Roma, 6 de febrero de 1895 Gardone Riviera, 4 de febrero de 1981) fue un director cinematográfico italiano. Después de unos inicios en el cine mudo, su primera obra destacable es Gli uomini, che mascalzoni! de 1932 donde dirigió a un jovencísimo …   Wikipedia Español

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