Frusta, Arrigo

(1875-1965)
(Born Augusto Sebastiano Ferraris.) Poet and scriptwriter. Although a qualified lawyer, Frusta had chosen to practice journalism and also earned a reputation as a poet in his native Piedmontese dialect before being recruited in 1908 by Arturo Ambrosio to head Ambrosio Film's scriptwriting department. It was Frustra's writing talents that were largely responsible for the quality and success of Ambrosio's films, in particular its legion of literary adaptations. When the famous writer-poet Gabriele D'Annunzio, after accepting a sizable advance for six adaptations of his works, failed to deliver any of them, Ambrosio delegated the task to Frusta, who scripted all six in less than two years (the films were all released in 1911-1912). Frusta was also responsible for the spectacularly successful Nozze d'oro, which won first prize for a feature film (and 25,000 lire) at the International Exhibition of Turin in 1911. The film was remarkable for, among other things, narrating its story through the use of flashback.
   In all, Frustra was responsible for close to 300 films. A keen mountaineer, he also used the talents of cameraman Giovanni Vitrotti to make three feature-length travelogues set in the Italian Alps, and he directed several adaptations of Shakespeare, among them La bisbetica domata (The Taming of the Shrew, 1913) and Otello (Othello, 1914). After a short but prolific career, briefly interrupted by the war, Frusta left the film industry in 1921 and never returned. However, in the 1950s, in a series of articles in the film journal Bianco e nero, Frusta was happy to recount his experiences and the part he had played in the industry's earliest days.
   Historical Dictionary of Italian Cinema by Alberto Mira

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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