Gabriele Ferzetti

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Gabriele Ferzetti
Ferzetti.jpg
Gabriele Ferzetti in La lunga notte del '43 (1960)
Born Pasquale Ferzetti
(1925-03-17) 17 March 1925 (age 89)
Rome, Italy
Occupation Actor
Years active 1942–present

Gabriele Ferzetti (born Pasquale Ferzetti on 17 March 1925 in Rome, Italy) is an Italian actor. He has more than 160 credits to his name across film, television and stage.[1] His career was at its peak in the 1950s and 1960s.

A prominent figure in Italian cinema since the 1950s, Ferzetti's first leading role came in 1950 in the film Lo Zappatore. He portrayed Puccini twice in 1953 and 1954 in the films Puccini and Casa Ricordi respectively. Ferzetti made his international breakthrough in 1960 in his most acclaimed role as an oversexed, restless playboy in Michelangelo Antonioni's controversial L'avventura. After a series of romantic performances, he acquired a reputation in Italy as an elegant, debonair and a somewhat aristocrat-looking leading man.[2][3]

In 1966, Ferzetti starred as Lot in John Huston's biblical epic, The Bible: In the Beginning. In 1968, he played railroad baron Morton in Sergio Leone's celebrated Once Upon a Time in the West. A year later, he appeared in the James Bond movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service as Marc Ange Draco, perhaps his best known role internationally, though his voice was dubbed by British actor David de Keyser. He is well-known to non-mainstream audiences for the role that he played as the psychiatrist, Hans, in Liliana Cavani's arthouse classic The Night Porter (1974). In the 1970s he appeared in a significant number of crime films, often as an Inspector. He also appeared in Julia and Julia, opposite Laurence Olivier in Inchon (1982) and the cult film First Action Hero. More recently he played the role of Nono in the TV series Une famille formidable and appeared in Luca Guadagnino's 2009 film I Am Love.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Ferzetti was born Pasquale Ferzetti in Rome, Italy on 17 March 1925.[1] He studied at the Accademia d'Arte Drammatica in Rome but was expelled.[3]

Career[edit]

1940s[edit]

Ferzetti made his screen debut in Via delle Cinque Lune under the directorship of Luigi Chiarini in 1942 at the age of 17,[1] featuring actors such as Luisella Beghi, Olga Solbelli, Andrea Checchi and Gildo Bocci.[4] Uncredited for his next role in Bengasi, later in 1942 he appeared in Flavio Calzavara's La contessa Castiglione. He then took a break from film acting and made a succession of theatrical appearances until 1948, when he had a small uncredited role in Riccardo Freda's I miserabili, non accreditato. After a small role as a pilot in Rondini in volo and a role in Vespro siciliano, a historic film set in 1282 during the War of the Sicilian Vespers, later that year he appeared alongside Elli Parvo, Silvana Resplanton, Piero Lulli and Marcello Mastroianni in Luigi Capuano's Vertigine d'amore. He next appeared in the film Fabiola (1949) as Claudio. The antiquity drama, set in Rome, was warmly received.[1]

1950s[edit]

Ferzetti as a professor in an award winning role opposite Gina Lollobrigida in Mario Soldati's La Provinciale (1953)

In 1950 he had a supporting role in Flavio Calzavara's Sigillo rosso alongside Gino Cervi and Carla Del Poggio, but his first leading role came later that year in the film Lo Zappatore, a film which focused on the life of peasants and farm workers during the interwar and great depression period.[1] Roles now came in abundance for Ferzetti. He began starring in films in quick succession, from the crime comedy Benvenuto, reverendo! (1950) alongside Aldo Fabrizi, Massimo Girotti and Lianella Carell,[5] to Luis Trenker's war film Barriera a Settentrione (1950),[6] to Guido Brignone's Core 'ngrato (1951) and Inganno (1952), to Curzio Malaparte's drama Il Cristo proibito (1951), to Antonio Pietrangeli's Il sole negli occhi (1953). Later in 1953 starred in the successful biopic of composer Puccini under Carmine Gallone, Puccini, released in the United States a year later. Ferzetti reprise his role as Puccini in Casa Ricordi in 1954 alongside Roland Alexandre as Gioacchino Rossini.[1] In 1953, Ferzetti starred in Mario Soldati's La Provinciale, a Cannes Film Festival nominee for best film which saw him play the role of a professor who falls in love with a glamorous star (Gina Lollobrigida).[1] This comedy drama involves the story of a Romanian countess who forces "Gemma" to become a prostitute. Ferzetti's performance garnered him an award from the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists and cemented his status as a leading actor in Italy by appearing alongside Lollobrigida.[1] In 1954, Ferzetti appeared in Marcello Pagliero's comedy dramabased on the 1922 opera Vestire gli ignudi, playing the character of Ludovico Nota alongside Pierre Brasseur, Manlio Busoni and Paolo Ferrara and in Camilla under the directorship of Luciano Emmer.[7]

In 1955, Ferzetti starred as a downbeat, struggling artist named Lorenzo alongside Eleonora Rossi Drago, Franco Fabrizi and Valentina Cortese in Michelangelo Antonioni's Le amiche.[8] The film, shot on location in Turin is adapted from Cesare Pavese's 1949 novella Tra donne sole. Later in 1955 he starred in Un po' di cielo, directed by Giorgio Moser. His major film of 1956 was Donatella opposite Elsa Martinelli, under director Mario Monicelli. The film screened at the 6th Berlin International Film Festival. In 1957, Ferzetti appeared in the crime film Parola di ladro under directors Nanni Loy and Gianni Puccini opposite Abbe Lane, Nadia Gray and Andrea Checchi. He later appeared in Antonio Pietrangeli's Souvenir d'Italie, a romantic comedy which saw him feature alongside June Laverick, Isabelle Corey and Ingeborg Schöner. In 1958, Ferzetti appeared in Ballerina e Buon Dio, directed by Antonio Leonviola, followed by Racconti d'estate, under the directorship of Gianni Franciolini, based on story by Alberto Moravia.[9] Ferzetti was cast in this romantic comedy set in the Tigullio Gulf alongside Alberto Sordi, Michèle Morgan, Marcello Mastroianni, Sylva Koscina, Dorian Gray, Franca Marzi, Franco Fabrizi and Jorge Mistral. In 1959, Ferzetti starred alongside Andrée Debar and Isa Miranda as Bernard Turquet de Mayenne in the French historical comedy Le secret du Chevalier d'Éon. Directed by Jacqueline Audry, the film is set in Burgundy in 1728. He later appeared in Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia's Annibale alongside Victor Mature, Rita Gam, Milly Vitale and Rik Battaglia. The film is set during the Roman Empire; Ferzetti played Fabius Maximus.

1960s[edit]

Ferzetti alongside Lea Massari in his most acclaimed role in L'avventura (1960), playing an oversexed playboy.

In 1960, Ferzetti starred in Gianni Puccini's Il carro armato dell'8 settembre followed by Florestano Vancini's La lunga notte del '43. The film was set during the Allied invasion of Italy in 1943 during the Second World War and saw Ferzetti feature alongside Belinda Lee and Enrico Maria Salerno. It was a considerable success at the Venice Film Festival and was nominated for a Goldon Lion Award. Later in 1960, Ferzetti made his international breakthrough as an oversexed, restless playboy Sandro in Michelangelo Antonioni's controversial L'avventura. Starring alongside Lea Massari and Monica Vitti romantically,[10][11] his role was critically acclaimed and was a role he is most associated with in publications on cinema. Liz-Anne Bawden of The Oxford Companion to Film said, "The acting is excellent. Gabriele Ferzetti repeats and develops his role from Le amiche of the inadequate male/artist".[12]

In 1962, Ferzetti had one of the busy years of his career, featuring in 7 films. Notably he featured in Il giorno più corto, directed by Sergio Corbucci, in Giuseppe Bennati's Congo vivo alongside Jean Seberg, in Jean Negulesco's American picture Jessica opposite Maurice Chevalier, Angie Dickinson and Noël-Noël in Il delitto non paga under director Gérard Oury. In 1963, Ferzetti he had a role in a large ensemble cast in Jean Delannoy's Venere imperiale and played the character of Leonardi in Charles Frend and Bruno Vailati's war drama Beta Som alongside Lilli Palmer, James Mason and Alberto Lupo. In 1964, his only notable performance was in Luis Lucia's musical comedy Crucero de verano alongside Carmen Sevilla, Marisa Merlini and José Alfayate. In 1965, Ferzetti starred in Lo scippo, alongside Paolo Ferrari and played the role of Vic Dermatt in Jacques Deray's French crime drama Par un beau matin d'été alongside Jean-Paul Belmondo, Sophie Daumier and Geraldine Chaplin.[13] He also had a role in Marcel Carné's Three Rooms in Manhattan, a film which incidentally featured a young Robert De Niro in an uncredited role.

1966 was a particularly important year for Ferzetti in the American market. He starred as Lot in John Huston's biblical epic The Bible: In the Beginning, based on the book of Book of Genesis opposite Michael Parks (Adam), Ulla Bergryd (Eve), Richard Harris (Cain), Franco Nero (Abel) and Huston himself as Noah, the narrator, the serpent, and God. He also made his television debut by appearing in two episodes of the spy series I Spy. In 1967, Ferzetti starred in We Still Kill the Old Way under director Elio Petri and the TV series Dossier Mata Hari. In 1968, Ferzetti experienced the most prolific year in his career, featuring in a total of 8 films. These include Marcello Fondato's I protagonisti, Salvatore Samperi's Grazie zia, José María Forqué's Un diablo bajo la almohada, Roberto Faenza's Escalation, Alberto De Martino's Roma come Chicago and Sergio Leone's western epic Once Upon a Time in the West in which he played Morton, the railroad baron, opposite acclaimed actors Henry Fonda and Charles Bronson.[1]

In 1969, Ferzetti starred in Giuliano Montaldo's crime film Gli intoccabili. He starred opposite John Cassavetes, Britt Ekland and Peter Falk and the film was entered into the 1969 Cannes Film Festival.[14] He next starred in Un bellissimo novembre, directed by Mauro Bolognini. The film, based on a novel by Ercole Patti (it), united Ferzetti and Gina Lollobrigida once again in the leading roles. Ferzetti's most important performance in 1969, and arguably the role he is most associated with internationally throughout his career was his role as distinguished organized crime boss Marc-Ange Draco in the 1969 James Bond feature On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Directed by Peter Hunt, Ferzetti plays the father of Tracy di Vicenzo (played by English actress Diana Rigg) who promises James Bond (George Lazenby) a handsome dowry for marrying her; they fall in love and marry anyway. Hunt had spotted Ferzetti in an Italian film which he and Harry Saltzman were supposed to be reviewing another actor in and both were immediately drawn to Ferzetti and persuaded the producers to test Ferzetti. However, despite speaking good English, his lines were dubbed by British actor David de Keyser due to Ferzetti's strong Italian accent. In the end of the film, his character Draco's resources are vital to aiding Bond to destroy Ernst Stavro Blofeld's base at Piz Gloria. His final release of 1969 was L'amica, directed by Alberto Lattuada.

1970s[edit]

In 1970, Ferzetti starred in the political thriller The Confession opposite Yves Montand and Simone Signore, under director Costa-Gavras. The film, based on the book by Lise London, explores the mental tortures facing the vice-minister of the Foreign Affairs of Czechoslovakia when he is imprisoned. The film was ominated for a Golden Globe Award. Ferzetti starred as an inspector in the crime picture Cannabis, directed by Pierre Koralnik. The film involves the American mafia and a group of French drug lords. He also had an uncredited role in Terence Young's American picture, Cold Sweat. In 1971, Ferzetti in Salvatore Samperi's Million Dollar Eel, a comedy film about an heiress who fakes her own kidnapping and hides in the river Po's delta to obtain money from her parents. In 1972, Ferzetti starred opposite Robert Blake, Catherine Spaak and Ernest Borgnine in Franco Prosperi's boxing drama, Un uomo dalla pelle dura. A series of appearances in crime films followed, including Alta tension and Trois milliards sans ascenseur (1972) and Bisturi la mafia bianca, directed by Luigi Zampa (1973).

In 1973, Ferzetti appeared in the TV movie and Divorzia lui, divorzia lei under Waris Hussein and Hitler: The Last Ten Days, a British-Italian produced picture directed by Ennio De Concini. Ferzetti played the role of Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel opposite Alec Guinness (Adolf Hitler), Simon Ward, Adolfo Celi and Diane Cilento. The following year, 1974, he again appeared in a World War II picture, this time the controversial arthouse classic about the Holocaust, The Night Porter, working under director Liliana Cavani. He starred alongside Dirk Bogarde and Charlotte Rampling and played Hans, a psychiatrist, one of his most notable roles. The film depicts the political continuity between wartime Nazism and post-war Europe and the psychological continuity of characters locked into compulsive repetition of the past. Given the film's dark and disturbing themes and a somewhat ambiguous moral clarification at the end, The Night Porter has tended to divide audiences and was accused of mere sensationalism. Film critic Roger Ebert said "as nasty as it is lubricious, a despicable attempt to titillate us by exploiting memories of persecution and suffering."[15]

Ferzetti continued to appear in crime films including ...a tutte le auto della polizia, directed by Mario Caiano (1975), the German detective thriller Der Richter und sein Henker, directed by Maximilian Schell (1975), Eriprando Visconti's La Orca (1976) and Fernando Di Leo's Gli amici di Nick Hezard, a film about a Swiss heist. He also appeared in French director Roger Pigaut's picture Le guêpier opposite Claude Brasseur and Marthe Keller and had a small role in Vincente Minnelli's fantasy A Matter of Time in 1976, which featured a prominent cast which included Ingrid Bergman and Liza Minnelli. In 1977 he starred in Eriprando Visconti's Oedipus orca and Lucio Fulci's The Psychic, about a clairvoyant woman (Jennifer O'Neill), who after having a vision, removes a section of the wall in the home of her husband (Ferzetti) and finds a skeleton behind it. In 1978, Ferzetti appeared in French director Claude d'Anna's picture Concorde Affair alongside Bruno Cremer, Donald Pleasence, Laure Dechasnel, Hélène Lehman, Dennis Hopper and Joseph Cotten. He also appeared in another French picture, the romantic drama Mon premier amour, directed by Elie Chouraqui. In 1979, Ferzetti starred in Porci con la P 38, directed by Gianfranco Pagani, Anni struggenti, directed by Vittorio Sindoni, Encuentro en el abismo, directed by Anthony Richmond and Tonino Ricci and also had an uncredited role in Terence Young's Bloodline. He also appeared in the TV series I vecchi e i giovani.

1980s-present[edit]

In 1982, Ferzetti played a Turkish brigadier in another of Young's pictures, the historical war film Inchon opposite Laurence Olivier as General Douglas MacArthur. Morte in Vaticano, directed by Marcello Aliprandi (1982). Ferzetti also starred alongside Franco Nero in the crime comedy, Grog, directed by Francesco Laudadio, about two convicts who escape from prison and take hostage the family of a doctor.

In the mid-1980s, as he began to reach retirement age, Ferzetti's career in film began to decline, mainly appearing in low-budget TV movies and mini series, including an uncredited role in the TV movie The Scarlet and the Black under Jerry London and the mini series Quo Vadis? (1985), La voglia di vincere (1987) and Around the World in 80 Days (1989). His only other films of the 1980s were Giulia e Giulia, directed by Peter Del Monte (1987) in which he starred alongside Kathleen Turner, Gabriel Byrne and Sting, Computron 22, directed by Giuliano Carnimeo (1988).

In the 1990s, Ferzetti's career continued to decline mainly only appearing in minor or brief roles in TV movies such as Voyage of Terror: The Achille Lauro Affair (1990), Black as the Heart (1991), Die Ringe des Saturn (1992), Natale con papà (1994) and mini series such as Private Crimes (1995) in which he played Dr. Braschi. He did however appear in the film First Action Hero in 1994 but his only role of major note in the 1990s was the Duke of Venice in Othello, directed by Oliver Parker in 1995. In 1997 he also appeared in Renzo Martinelli's Porzûs and Alfredo Angeli's Con rabbia e con amore.

In 2003, Ferzetti appeared in Perduto amor, directed by Franco Battiato in Concorso di colpa, directed by Claudio Fragasso (2005) and Io sono l'amore (2009), directed by Luca Guadagnino. His most notable role since 1996 though is as Nono in the series Une famille formidable in which he appeared in 11 episodes between 1996 and 2007. In 2010 he portrayed Enrico in Edoardo Leo's comedy picture 18 anni dopo, which featured Marco Bonini in the lead role.

Filmography[edit]

Cinema[edit]

Television[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Marc Ange Draco (Gabriele Ferzetti)". Mi6.co.uk. Retrieved 11 October 2010. 
  2. ^ "Giacomo Casanova e i suoi emuli" (in Italian). Cinebazar.it. Retrieved 12 October 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "Biography". Fandango. Retrieved 12 October 2010. 
  4. ^ "Via delle Cinque Lune". Mymovies.it. Retrieved 11 October 2010. 
  5. ^ "Benvenuto, reverendo!". Mymovies.it. Retrieved 12 October 2010. 
  6. ^ "Barriera a Settentrione". Mymovies.it. Retrieved 12 October 2010. 
  7. ^ "Vestire gli ignudi". Mymovies.it. Retrieved 12 October 2010. 
  8. ^ Scott, A. O. (18 June 2010). "Le amiche (1955)". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 October 2010. 
  9. ^ "NY Times: Girls for the Summer". NY Times.com. Retrieved 21 March 2009. 
  10. ^ Nochimson, Martha P. (2010). World on Film: An Introduction. John Wiley and Sons. p. 184. ISBN 978-1405139793. 
  11. ^ Morgan, Frederick (1961). The Hudson review, Volume 14. Hudson Review. p. 432. 
  12. ^ Bawden, Liz-Anne (1976). The Oxford companion to film. Oxford University Press. p. 46. 
  13. ^ "New York Times: Crime on a Summer Morning". NY Times. Retrieved 28 August 2008. 
  14. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Machine Gun McCain". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 7 April 2009. 
  15. ^ Ebert, Roger (10 February 1975). "The Night Porter". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 23 December 2008. 

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