Sog.: Castellano e Pipolo. Scen.: Castellano e Pipolo, Luciano Salce. F.: Erico Menczer. M.: Roberto Cinquini. Scgf.: Alberto Boccianti. Mus.: Ennio Morricone. Int.: Ugo Tognazzi (Primo Arcovazzi), Georges Wilson (professor Erminio Bonafé), Gianrico Tedeschi (Arcangelo Baldacci), Elsa Vazzoler (Matilde Baldacci), Mireille Granelli (Rita), Stefania Sandrelli (Lisa), Franco Giacobini (deficiente), Renzo Palmer (partigiano romagnolo), Gianni Agus (federale), Luciano Salce (tenente Rudolf). Prod.: Isidoro Broggi, Renato Libassi per D.D.L.. DCP. Bn.
The fascist in Il federale is the product of a school of obtuseness and idiocy who is manipulated by his own crafty bosses. Someone who does not understand, because he has been taught not to understand. On the other hand, the professor, with his clear and grounded anti-Fascism, displays a stinginess that his antagonist lacks. The film revolves around this personality clash. […] With Il federale, for the first time I made use of Ugo Tognazzi outside the restrictive framework of the comic films that he had been making with Vianello. I was acting in a film, Tipi da spiaggia, which starred Tognazzi and was written by Castellano and Pipolo. We talked about writing a film together and the idea for Il federale emerged, which we wrote when we got back to Rome. […] I certainly wasn’t thinking about putting myself forward as director. We proposed it to several producers, but nobody wanted to do it. […] In the meantime, I directed Pillole di Ercole, thanks to Manfredi. It went well and so Libassi suggested that I pick up Il federale, with Tognazzi. […] Some people criticise the film for being apolitical, because the stupid and obtuse fascist is viewed from a human perspective. I’ve often received this accusation. And it’s not like I considered the professor as a good man; he was a historical antifascist, one of the originals, like Bonomi or Sforza, and was also viewed with a critical eye. Above all it was a film that contained good ideas in the screenplay, and I think it was also well directed.
Luciano Salce in L’avventurosa storia del cinema italiano. Da La dolce vita a C’era una volta il West, Edizioni Cineteca di Bologna, Bologna 2021
I felt at the time that with Il federale I had discovered the right path to embark on what was virtually a new profession. I saw Salce and said: “I think this is an opportunity to do something different, to create a real character rather than a mechanical pretext for parody or comedy.” Salce agreed; he worked with Castellano and Pipolo and we made the film. When I was shooting the final part, the producers, in a rather underhand fashion, offered me a car if I added some comic lines because they were worried about the change of direction when I am beaten up and the moral of the fable and the essence of my character finally emerge. I can’t remember if I actually got the car, but I remember that I added the line; when Wilson says to me “They weren’t hitting you, they were hitting your uniform,” I replied – albeit bruised and in a rather serious fashion – “Yes, but I’m the one wearing the uniform.”
Ugo Tognazzi in L’avventurosa storia del cinema italiano. Da La dolce vita a C’era una volta il West, Edizioni Cineteca di Bologna, Bologna 2021
Courtesy of Compass Film
Restored in 4K in 2020 by Cineteca di Bologna in collaboration with Compass Film, with funding provided by Ministero della Cultura, at L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory from the original camera and sound negatives provided by Studio Cine. Grading under the supervision of DoP Gian Filippo Corticelli