TOMBOLO, PARADISO NERO
Sog.: Piero Tellini, Glauco Pellegrini. Scen.: Giorgio Ferroni, Victor Merenda, Indro Montanelli, Glauco Pellegrini, Rodolfo Sonego. F.: Piero Portalupi. M.: Maria Mengoli. Scgf.: Arrigo Equini. Mus.: Amedeo Escobar. Int.: Aldo Fabrizi (Andrea Rascelli), Nada Fiorelli (Elvira), Dante Maggio (Agostino), Luigi Pavese (maresciallo Pugliesi), Elio Steiner (Alfredo), John Kitzmiller (sergente Jack), Franca Marzi (Lidia), Umberto Spadaro (Banco), Luigi Tosi (Renzo), Adriana Benetti (Anna Rascelli). Prod.: INCINE – Industria Cinematografica Italiana. DCP. Bn.
In the years immediately following Rome, Open City Fabrizi performed in dramatic or touchingly humorous roles, and the films that suited him best were those that bordered on realism, such as this movie shot in the Tombolo pine forest in Livorno. Considered a hotbed of vice by the media at that time, the forest was host to an American army base and depot after the war, and would later be the location for Senza pietà (Without Pity) by Alberto Lattuada (who apparently sent his screenwriter Federico Fellini to the set of this film to scout out the location for his own movie). Fabrizi plays an upset father who goes looking for his daughter, lost in the shady criminal underworld. The film’s director Ferroni was trained as a documentary-maker at Istituto Luce, with some experimental and avant-garde dabbling (which filters through the first scenes). He ended up collaborating with the Republic of Salò north of the Gothic Line, numbering among the filmmakers involved with a would-be Cinecittà in Venice, but he then made a film about the resistance produced by the Associazione Nazionale Partigiani, Pian delle stelle. During the 1950s and 60s he made notable sword-and-sandal movies (Le baccanti, La guerra di Troia [The Bacchantes, The Trojan Horse]), spaghetti westerns and a visionary horror movie, Il mulino delle donne di pietra (Mill of the Stone Women). The atmosphere here is a combination of melodrama and film noir, with a fast pace, skilful use of character actors and a touch of fear about the mingling of races (the black soldier was played by John Kitzmiller, who had already appeared in Zampa’s Vivere in pace).