Umberto Lenzi at the Festival de Cine de Sitges in October 2008.
6 August 1931 |
Massa Marittima, Italy
|Occupation||Film director and screenwriter|
Umberto Lenzi (born 6 August 1931), is an Italian film director who was very active in Italian international co-production peplums, Eurospy films, spaghetti westerns, Macaroni Combat movies, Poliziotteschi films, cannibal films and giallo murder mysteries (in addition to writing many of the screenplays himself).
Life and career
Born in Massa Marittima, Grosseto, southern Tuscany, Lenzi became passionate about cinema when studying law; after working as a journalist for various local newspapers and magazines, he abandoned his university studies and moved to Rome, where he enrolled at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, graduating in 1956.
After a few years spent as a film critic an a writer, in 1960 he made his film debut as assistant director in the Renzo Merusi's drama The Dam on the Yellow River. One year later, he made his directorial debut with the pirate film Queen of the Seas.
Between 1962 and 1966 Lenzi specialized in adventure films, in particular directing two films based on the Robin Hood character and three based on Emilio Salgari's Sandokan, as well as an adaptation of the comic book series Kriminal. After a few forays in the Eurospy, Spaghetti Western and Macaroni combat genres, in 1968 Lenzi started with Orgasmo a proficous and successful series of Giallo films, the first four of them starring Carroll Baker in the main role.
In 1972 Lenzi directed the groundbreaking exploitation film Man from the Deep River, which is considered as either the inspiration or the start of the cannibal genre. Starting from Gang War in Milan (1973), for a few years Lenzi concentrated into some successful crime films, known as "poliziotteschi", often collaborating with Tomas Milian and contributing to create Milian's character of "Er Monnezza". In 1980, he returned to the cannibal genre with the truce Eaten Alive!; the same year, he directed Nightmare City, a film described as a "highlight of Lenzi's horror filmography". In 1981, he directed his last cannibal film, Cannibal Ferox.
In the early 1980s Lenzi's career spanned in various genres, particularly comedies. He returned to the horror genre in 1987 with Ghost House, and in 1989 he started collaborating with Italian television. Following a number of low-budget cop films, he retired from directing in the early 1990s.
- The Adventure of the Mary Read (1961) aka Queen of the Seas; aka Hell Below Deck, aka Mary la Rousse, Femme Pirate
- Catherine of Russia (1962)
- The Triumph of Robin Hood (1962) starring Samson Burke
- Duel of Fire (1962) aka Duello nella sila
- Terror of the Black Mask (1962) aka The Invincible Masked Rider/ L'invincibile cavaliere mascherato
- Samson and the Slave Queen (1963) aka Zorro vs Maciste
- Sandokan the Great (1963) aka Sandokan, The Tiger of Mompracem, starring Steve Reeves
- Sandokan, the Pirate of Malaysia (1964) aka Pirates of the Seven Seas, starring Steve Reeves once again portraying Sandokan the Great
- Temple of the White Elephants (1964) aka Sandok, the Maciste of the Jungle
- Adventures of the Bengal Lancers (1964) aka I tre sergenti del Bengala, aka The Three Sergeants of Fort Bengal, starring Richard Harrison
- Messalina vs. the Son of Hercules (1964) aka The Last Gladiator
- Temple of a Thousand Lights (1965) aka Jungle Adventurer, aka The Mountain of Light, caper film starring Richard Harrison
- Super Seven Calling Cairo (1965)
- 008 Operation Exterminate (1965)
- The Spy Who Loves Flowers (1966)
- A Million Dollars For Seven Killers (1966)
- Kriminal (1966) based on the famous Italian comic strip
- Attentato ai tre grandi (1967)
- Copperface (1967)
- A Pistol for a Hundred Coffins (1968)
- Tutto Per Tutto (1968) aka All Out, starred John Ireland
- Legion of the Damned (1969) aka Battle of the Commandos, written by Dario Argento, starring Jack Palance
- Orgasmo (1969) (released in USA as Paranoia)
- So Sweet... So Perverse (1969)
- An Ideal Place To Kill (1969) released in the USA as Oasis of Fear, aka Dirty Pictures
- Paranoia (1970) released in USA as A Quiet Place To Kill (since Orgasmo had already been released in the USA as Pananoia)
- The Man From Deep River (1972) aka Il paese del sesso selvaggio / The Country of Savage Sex, aka Sacrifice, aka Deep River Savages
- Seven Bloodstained Orchids (1972) aka Puzzle of the Silver Half Moons, aka Sette orchidee macchiate di rosso
- Il coltello di ghiaccio (1972) aka Knife of Ice, Silent Horror, Vertigine, and Detrás del Silencio
- Gang War in Milan (1973) aka Milano Rovente, aka Burning City
- Spasmo (1974)
- Almost Human (1974) aka Milano odia: la polizia non può sparare, aka The Kidnapping of Mary Lou
- Eyeball (1975) aka Wide-Eyed in the Dark, aka Red Cats in a Glass Maze / Gatti rossi in un labirinto di vetro
- Syndicate Sadists (1975) aka The Avenger Challenges the City
- Violent Naples (1976) aka Napoli violenta
- Rome Armed to the Teeth (1976) aka Brutal Justice, aka Roma a Mano Armata
- Free Hand for a Tough Cop (1976) aka Il trucido e lo sbirro
- Brothers Till We Die (1977)
- The Cynic, the Rat and the Fist (1977) written by Ernesto Gastaldi
- The Greatest Battle (1978) aka Il grande attacco (The Great Attack)
- From Hell to Victory (1979)
- From Corleone to Brooklyn (1979)
- The Sicilian Boss (1979)
- Nightmare City (1980) aka City of the Walking Dead, aka Nightmare in the Contaminated City / Incubo sulla cittá contaminata
- Eaten Alive! (1980) aka Mangiati vivi, aka The Emerald Jungle, aka Doomed To Die
- Cannibal Ferox (1981) aka Make Them Die Slowly
- Daughter of the Jungle (1982) aka Encounter in the Last Paradise / Incontro nell'ultimo paradiso
- Ironmaster (1982) aka The War of Iron / La guerra di ferro
- I cinque del Condor / The Five of the Condor (1985) aka The Wild Team aka Thunder Squad
- Tempi di guerra / Times of War (1987) aka Wartime
- Nightmare Beach (1988) aka Welcome to Spring Break (Lenzi was an uncredited co-director)
- Black Cobra (Lenzi was a co-director on this 4-film series) (released 1987, 1988, 1989 & 1990 respectively)
- Ghosthouse (1988) aka La Casa 3
- Hell's Gate (1989) aka The Door To Hell
- Hitcher in the Dark (1989) aka Fear in the Dark
- The House of Witchcraft (1989) Made for Italian TV, aka Ghosthouse 4
- The House of Lost Souls (1989) Made for Italian TV
- Black Demons (1991) erroneously distributed on video as Demons 3
- Cop Target (1991) stars Robert Ginty
- Detective Malone (1991) stars Fred Williamson
- The Hunt for the Golden Scorpion (1991)
- Mean Tricks (1993)
- Paul, Louis (2005). Italian Horror Film Directors. McFarland. ISBN 9780786487493. pp. 143-158.
- Mark Martinez. "http://www.kult-movies.com". Kult Movie Maximux. Retrieved 2006-10-24. External link in
- Pallotta, Alberto (2005). Quel fenomeno der Monnezza. Un Mondo A Parte. pp. 11–3.
- "BFI | Film & TV Database | Il coltello di ghiaccio (1970)". British Film Institute. Retrieved June 7, 2012.