Amedeo Nazzari

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Amedeo Nazzari
Amedeo Nazzari Il brigante musolino.jpg
Nazzari in the 1950 film Il Brigante Musolino
Born Salvatore Amedeo Carlo Leone Buffa
(1907-12-10)December 10, 1907
Cagliari, Italy
Died November 7, 1979(1979-11-07) (aged 71)
Rome, Italy
Years active 1936–1976
Spouse(s) Irene Genna (1957 - 1979)

Amedeo Nazzari (Cagliari, 10 December 1907 – Rome, 7 November 1979) was an Italian actor. Nazzari was one of the leading figures of Italian classic cinema, often considered a local variant of the Anglo-American star Errol Flynn. Although he emerged as a star during the Fascist era, Nazzari's popularity continued well into the post-war years.

Early career[edit]

Nazzari was born as Salvatore Amedeo Buffa in Sardinia, and although he moved to Rome he always retained a slight trace of his native accent.[1] While Nazzari was keen on gaining film contracts much of his early experience was in the theatre. He entered a contest organised by Twentieth Century Fox to find an Italian actor to fill the boots of the recently deceased screen star Rudolph Valentino, but lost out to Alberto Rabagliati.[2] He was rejected after screen tests by Italian professionals, who found him too tall, thin and gloomy of expression.[3]

Nazzari made his debut in Ginevra degli Almieri (1935), following a recommendation from Elsa Merlini.[4] His first read role came with the 1936 film Cavalry, and he followed it up with The Castiglioni Brothers (1937). His breakthrough came with the 1938 film Luciano Serra, Pilot (1938) where he played a First World War veteran who returns to fight for Italy during the Abyssinian War. Nazzari was transformed into a matinee idol, the most bankable star of Italian cinema.[5] Following the film, Nazzari was invited to join the Fascist Party by Benito Mussolini, but declined saying "Thank You Duce! I would prefer not to concern myself with politics, occupied as I am with more pressing artistic commitments".[6]

Fascist film star[edit]

Despite declining to join the party Nazzari, along with a handful of other actor such as Fosco Giachetti, was considered the model of a Fascist male. Most of his film roles from this point present him as a masculine (often military) figure. His emergence as a star coincided with a major drive by the Italian government to rebuild the country's film industry which had declined since its heyday in the silent era. This policy involved large-scale government funding of films and the construction of the massive Cinecittà studio complex in Rome. The number of films produced each year climbed rapidly, with Nazarri a particularly prolific actor (making six films in 1939 and eight in 1941).[7] During the era he appeared opposite most of the leading Italian actresses including Alida Valli, Lilia Silvi, Luisa Ferida, Mariella Lotti, Assia Noris, Vera Carmi and Clara Calamai, often more than once.

Nazzari was almost always cast as a straightforward hero, and he closely protected his public persona to avoid any negative roles. An exception was the historical comedy-drama film The Jester's Supper (1942) in which he plays a loutish figure. Nazzari made four films with Alida Valli that included the comedies Unjustified Absence (1939) and Apparition (1944). Following Italy's entry into the Second World War in 1940, Nazzari combined romances and comedies, with occasional more propagandistic productions. Amongst the more political was Bengasi (1942), an anti-British war film set in Libya. Nazzari portrays an Italian patriot who masquerades as a collaborator with the British occupiers of Bengazi in order to steal their battle plans. It was the only time he featured alongside the other great male star of the era, Fosco Giachetti.

Later career[edit]

Star of Italian cinema during the 40's and 50's. He made several melodramas with Raffaello Matarazzo, such as Catene in 1949. Nazzari acts himself in Federico Fellini's Nights of Cabiria.

Awards[edit]

Filmography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gundle p.194
  2. ^ Gundle p.186
  3. ^ Gundle p.186
  4. ^ Gundle p.191
  5. ^ Gundle p.184
  6. ^ Gundle p.185
  7. ^ Gundle p.191

Bibliography[edit]

  • Amedeo Nazzari written by Piero Pruzzo and Enrico Lancia. Collana "Le stelle filanti", Gremese Editore, Roma, 1983.
  • Amedeo Nazzari. Il divo,l'uomo, l'attore by Simone Casavecchia, with an interview to Evelina Nazzari, Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia (Roma, 2007) in the 100 Anniversary of the birth of the actor (1907/2007). Sito ufficiale del C.S.C.
  • Amedeo Buffa in arte Nazzari written by Maria Evelina Buffa. Collana "Cinema italiano", Edizioni Sabinae, Roma, 2008.
  • Gundle, Stephen. Mussolini's Dream Factory: Film Stardom in Fascist Italy. Berghahn Books, 2013.

External links[edit]