Gustav Machatý

Sog.: dal romanzo Fanny ballerina della Scala (1933) di Giuseppe Adami; Scen.: Albrecht Joseph, Rudolf Joseph, Leo Bomba; F.: Václav Vích; Op.: Giuseppe La Torre; Scgf.: Virgilio Marchi, Enrico Verdozzi, Nino Maccarones; Co.: John Guida; Coreogr.: Sartorio; Mo.: Vincenzo Sorelli; Mu.: Annibale Bizzelli; Canzone Il mio paradiso di Carlo Innocenzi; Su.: Boris Muller, Paolo Uccello; Ass. regia.: Mario Monicelli, Alberto Mondadori; Int.: Silvana Jachino (Fanny), Olivia Fried (Piera), Laura Nucci (la Sandri), Maria Denis (Gina), Maria Ray (signora Alexa), Livio Pavanelli (industriale Micropoulos), Antonio Centa (Mario Verandi), Carlo Fontana (Palesi), Gino Viotti (il maestro Ronchetti), Gustav Hrdlicka (il truccatore), Giorgio Bianchi (il pianista), Fausto Guerzoni (Prandi), Nicola Maldacea (l’agente teatrale), Nino Marchetti (il direttore di scena), Mussia Andreis, Marianna Bardas, Oreste Bilancia, Gianni Biraghi, Gemma Bolognesi, Franca Brunori, Marisa Cabrini, Vittorio Capanni, Dada Castana, Maria Cecconi, Mary Cipriani, Mimma Cipriani, Liza Czobel, Jacqueline De Grad; Prod.: Associati Produttori Indipendenti Film (API)/Anonima Film In-ternazionali; Pri. pro.: agosto 1936
35 mm. D. 69′. Bn


T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

I was thrilled by the fact that I was sent to be the “clapper boy”, the bottom rung of assistants, for a lm by Gustav Machatý. Machatý was a Czechoslovakian director who the year before had won the Venice Film Festival with his very famous Ecstasy – famous because for the rst time in his- tory it showed a nude woman wandering around the woods, Hedy Lamarr.

Being able to work with Machatý, even in such a minor role, seemed like who knows what to me. In fact, I had a truly unforget- table experience. I was in Tirrenia, where they wanted to develop Giovacchino For- zano’s lm facilities. Machatý acted ex- actly as I thought he should, as my model, like a madman!

He showed up wearing strange clothes; I imagined he was Sternberg, a Central European like him. He yelled, shouted and screamed; he would suddenly feel a crisis coming on, and all the lights would be shut off, plunging us all into total dark- ness: everything was shot inside because exterior shots did not exist then. The whole troupe, forty- fty people, stood in the darkness, every one of them silent and on tiptoe, talking was not allowed; and he would sit in a chair, raise his feet from the ground while we waited around for him to “give birth.” Work would start again when he felt inspired.

Normally not much was accomplished during the morning: he would wander around, make phone calls, lock himself in the dressing room, grumble or not say a word, get distracted… In other words, it took hours for him to get revved up. The lm never ended. The process of the one or two shots lmed per day seemed to me an immortal event.

The lm was called Ballerine, and, when I saw it in the theater, I realized that it was one of the stupidest things ever. An interesting thing to note about Bal- lerine is that it was the debut of Antonio Centa, a young man who had just come back from America where he had gone to work as a construction worker. Since he was born near Sequals, at a certain point he was put near Carnera: with the Ma a and gangsters hanging around Carnera, Centa was half lady-in-waiting and half chaperone to him. (…) My rst experi- ences went from one extreme to another: from a kind of crazy, miniature Sternberg to a money-grubber like Genina who had dozens of successful lms under his belt, had worked for UFA and in France, with the stars, and who I looked down upon. I remember that in my opinion he shot the lm [Squadrone bianco] like a slob. Then when Ballerine and Squadrone bianco were released, I went to see them and re- alized that the former was unrealistic and muddled, and the other instead pulled its own weight, even esthetically.

Mario Monicelli, L’arte della commedia, edited by Lorenzo Codelli, Dedalo, Bari 1986

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