L’ORO DI NAPOLI. Episodio Il professore
Sog.: dal racconto Don Ersilio Miccio vendeva saggezza (1947) di Giuseppe Marotta. Scen.: Cesare Zavattini, Giuseppe Marotta, Vittorio De Sica. F.: Carlo Montuori. M.: Eraldo Da Roma. Scgf.: Gastone Medin, Virgilio Marchi. Mus.: Alessandro Cicognini. Int.: Eduardo De Filippo (don Ersilio Miccio), Tina Pica (cliente), Nino Imparato (Gennaro), Gianni Crosio (duca Alfonso). Prod.: Dino De Laurentiis, Carlo Ponti per Ponti-De Laurentiis. 35mm. D.: 13’. Bn.
In the immediate postwar period, Eduardo got involved in the making of a series of government propaganda shorts. It was an operation in which the actor-director carefully avoided taking sides with a political party, instead insisting on the necessity of voting (abstentionism hit a party like the Christian Democrats particularly hard) and explaining to Italians the benefits of the Marshall Plan, the economic assistance provided by the Americans after the war. Sogno o realtà, made for the elections of 18 April 1948, was never used because it was ineffective as propaganda, and was only discovered by the Cineteca Nazionale in 2012. On the other hand, Considerazioni di Eduardo (1948), a short modelled on the monologue of the play Questi fantasmi!, was screened. The most notable of these shorts, however, is Monologo, which was also rediscovered only recently having been little screened, if at all, at the time. Once again, Eduardo replicates his monologue addressed from a balcony to the person living opposite, commenting with apparent innocence on the prospects of American assistance, but with a tone that is anything but triumphant: “Professor, tell me honestly; you and I can talk openly. Do you think this Marshall Plan will work, or not?”.
Between 1953 and 1954, after having essentially exhausted the main phase of his career as a film director in just a few years, Eduardo participated in several episode films, which were then fashionable. It was a successful formula, often drawn from literature, which drew together films set in different eras. When acting for other directors, Eduardo almost always played supporting roles, but in these episodes, he is often the protagonist and displays a strong variation in tone. In Purificazione, based on the one act play by Gino Rocca he is a war veteran who has to communicate the death of a fellow soldier to the man’s wife, only to discover that she has already forgotten him. Above all, in the episode from L’oro di Napoli he presents us with one of his classic ‘monologues’: as a neighbourhood expert, he dispenses advice for money, including a widely celebrated “blowing-a-raspberry lesson”.