Sog., Scen.: Pier Maria Pasinetti, Franco Rossi, Gian Domenico Giagni, Franco Brusati, Pasquale Festa Campanile, Massimo Franciosa, Ugo Guerra. F.: Ted McCord. M.: Mario Serandrei. Scgf.: Aldo Capuano. Mus.: Piero Umiliani. Int.: Enrico Maria Salerno (Vittorio Ciocchetti), Annie Girardot (Gabriella), Renato Salvatori (Mario), Susan Mueller, Isabella Albonico, Joan Houseman, Len Lesser, Peter Howard. Prod.: Goffredo Lombardo per Titanus. 35mm. D.: 92’. Bn.
Smog was the first Italian film to be entirely shot in the US, in Los Angeles. This was in 1962. It opened the Venice Film Festival and thendisappeared from circulation. It tells the story of a lawyer from Rome who lands in Los Angeles, only to leave 48 hours later lacking the certainties that he possessed before arriving in that futuristic city.
It was produced by Goffredo Lombardo’s Titanus and directed by Franco Rossi. The actors were Enrico Maria Salerno, Renato Salvatori and Annie Girardot. The music was by Piero Umiliani, with the great Chet Baker on the trumpet. The cinematography was by Ted McCord,who shot The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
In order to write the story of Smog, Franco Rossi and the scriptwriter Gian Domenico Giagni joined forces with Pier Maria Pasinetti, inLos Angeles, where he lived. Subsequently, in Rome, other screenwriters also participated: Pasquale Festa Campanile, Massimo Franciosa, Ugo Guerra, Franco Brusati. Smog is fundamentally a road movie. Events occur on the boulevards of Los Angeles that thescreenwriters had personally witnessed; inside the houses we see characters and situations that at the time might have amazed Italians for whom America was distant and unattainable.
Just as Italians who had recently emerged from the war were amazed by the sequences shot in the futuristic Inglewood airport, in AnnieGirardot’s house with its swimming pool perched above the city, or the final scenes in Judge House, an enormous transparent sphere that looks more like a spaceship.
Shot in a documentary style, Smog tells the story of the Italians that live in the city and their relationship with the Californians, but also the provincialism and superficiality of the protagonist, a typical product of the economic miracle.
Smog has remained virtually unknown until now. After The Leopard and Sodom and Gomorrah, Titanus risked bankruptcy and was forced to sell a package of films to MGM and this included Smog, which was never screened again in either America or Italy.
The film – a forgotten, unknown, mysterious object – begins today a new journey which will allows it to resurface. Precisely 60 years later.