Antonio Margheriti

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Antonio Margheriti
Born (1930-09-19)19 September 1930
Rome, Italy
Died 4 November 2002(2002-11-04) (aged 72)
Monterosi, Viterbo, Italy
Occupation director, producer, writer

Antonio Margheriti (19 September 1930 – 4 November 2002), also known under the pseudonym Anthony M. Dawson, was a prolific Italian filmmaker. He was born in Rome and died in 2002 from a heart attack in Monterosi, Viterbo, near Rome at the age of 72.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Margheriti started out in the Italian film industry in 1956 as a screenwriter. He started directing in 1960, his first film being Assignment Outer Space. Margheriti is known for his science fiction, horror, spaghetti western and action movies. He directed such Italian cult movies as Castle of Blood (1963), The Long Hair of Death (1964), Wild Wild Planet (1965), Cannibal Apocalypse, The Virgin of Nuremberg, Naked You Die, Mr. Super Invisible, The Last Hunter, Battle of the Worlds and numerous others. Most of his films were directed under the pseudonym of Anthony M. Dawson. He stopped using his real name in the USA early in his career, when he was told by his dubbing director Ted Rusoff that the English translation of the name "Antonio Margheriti" was "Anthony Daisies", and that it sounded too effeminate.

He was the only Italian director who worked directly for American production companies like MGM, United Artists, 20th Century Fox, Columbia Pictures, etc. with films like: Yor, the Hunter from the Future, Take a Hard Ride, Killer Fish, etc. Margheriti said his action/adventure/war films were his favorites, and his least favorite movies were the sword-and-sandal peplum films he made in the early 1960s (such as Devil of the Desert Against the Son of Hercules and Giants of Rome).

For years, director Paul Morrissey disputed Margheriti's claim that he had directed "Andy Warhol's Frankenstein" in the early 1970s, saying that Margheriti was mostly just a technical advisor on that film. Morrissey said Margheriti did however direct a very, very brief segment of the movie (mostly the scenes involving the two children roaming around in the lab).

Margheriti worked with many well-known genre actors such as Lee Van Cleef, John Saxon, Claude Rains, John Morghen, Klaus Kinski, Barbara Steele, Reb Brown, Donald Pleasence, Yul Brynner, David Warbeck, Luciano Pigozzi, Marvin Hagler, Lee Majors, James Franciscus, Terence Hill, Fred Williamson, Christopher Lee and many others. Most of his later films were shot in the Philippines (especially his war films). Margheriti also collaborated on the special effects in two Italian cult films which he did not direct, Sergio Leone's "Fistful of Dynamite" (1971) and Aldo Lado's "The Humanoid" (1979).

Margheriti retired from filmmaking in 1996 at age 66. He died in 2002 of natural causes. Margheriti's son Edoardo and daughter Antonella are both also involved in filmmaking. Eli Roth's character in the 2009 Quentin Tarantino film Inglourious Basterds took Margheriti as his namesake.

The Gamma One series[edit]

Margheriti made two of the first ever Italian space movies in 1960 and 1961 respectively; Assignment Outer Space (known as "Space Men" in Italy) and Battle of the Worlds (known as "The Planet of Extinct Men" in Italy).

In 1965, since he was considered an accomplished science-fiction film director who could work wonders with a very small budget, Margheriti was hired by MGM to direct four Italian space movies that became known as the Gamma One series. He finished all four films in three months. The films in the series were made to be distributed in the USA (most were sold directly to late-night television) under the following titles: Wild Wild Planet, War of the Planets, War Between the Planets and Snow Devils. A fifth film was later made in the Gamma One series in Japan in 1968 entitled The Green Slime (aka Gamma One: Operation Outer Space) which starred Robert Horton, but Margheriti was not involved with that one.

Filmography[edit]

Note: Treasure Island in Outer Space (1987) was later remade by Disney as an animated film in 2002.

References[edit]

External links[edit]