Sog.: Indro Montanelli, Glauco Pellegrini, Piero Tellini; Scen.: Giorgio Ferroni, Victor Merenda, Indro Montanelli, Glauco Pellegrini, Rodolfo Sonego; F.: Piero Portalupi; Scgf.: Arrigo Equini; Mu.: Amedeo Escobar; Int.: Adriana Benetti (Anna), Neride Bertuccelli, Aldo Fabrizi (An- drea Rascelli), Nada Fiorelli (Elvira), Tony Harlem, John Kitzmiller (Seg. Jack), Mario Maffei, Dante Maggio (Agostino), Franca Marzi (Lidia), Giovanni Onorato (Oscar), Luigi Pavese (maresciallo P.S. Pugliesi), Glauco Pellegrini, Otello Seno (Otello), Umberto Spadaro (Banco), Elio Steiner (Alfredo), Alessando Taffarell (il calvo), Attilio Tosato, Luigi Tosi (Renzo), Saro Urzì (Pietro), Cesira Vianello (zia Giulietta); Prod.: Mario Borghi per Fincine; Pri. pro.: 25 ottobre 1947 Beta. D.: 100’. Bn.
The John Kitzmiller of the two (…) neorealist films (Tombolo, Paradiso Nero – ‘Black Paradise’ – by Ferroni and Senza Pietà – Without Pity – by Lattuada) was also the black doorkeeper to paradise, the guardian to God’s possessions and the United States, the watchman to an ‘off limits’ marked by barbed wire and beyond which anyone is shot at and killed. And so the army captain posted in Livorno to command a company of bridge and road construction engineers became the perfect American version of the neorealist actor. One picked out on the streets, but nevertheless on the streets that made or moulded him.
John Kitzmiller – American lookout for the Italian neorealist gang – had two noirs dock in Livorno. His involvement, his meditation and his ‘shield’ (as Lattuada affectionately called it) were essential to filming in Livorno and in occupied territories. The Practical Warfare Branch of our lm industry. In Tombolo Kitzmiller is Jack, a sergeant (…) who doesn’t disdain shady trafficking. Livorno, Tombolo: “Tarts, queers, Negros…”. This is how it was remembered by Federico Fellini who, dressed as a tramp, sneaked onto the Tombolo set with Tullio Pinelli so they could study it and write Senza Pietà. Lookouts or dopes, the Negros in Tombolo are of course the last circle of Hell. And so some of the girls are fussy. The ‘hysteric’. The film dialogues (created with the involvement of Indro Montanelli, among others) are somewhat explicit. The word ‘nigger’ sounds derogatory, and in fact in 1946 it was requested that it be deleted from the scripts held by the American majors (…): “… after spending the night hustling with niggers…”; “He’ll know I’ve been with a nigger, he’ll think I’ve always done it”.
Sergeant Jack listens to the radio, drinks brandy (keeping an eye out that others don’t booze: “You no drinking! You too smart, man!”) and dances the boogie-woogie. But he knows exactly what he wants: two and a half hours with Anna, Alfredo the cyclist’s woman, and twenty percent of the booty. As silent, understanding and tragic as some heroes that only Fassbinder would later ably portray, Kitzmiller, with his swinging musical presence, entirely dominates these incredible open-air outdoor dancefloors out in nature, surrounded by pine trees.
Tatti Sanguineti, Neorealismo nero: John Kitzmiller, in Neorealismo. Cinema italiano 1945-1949, edited by Alberto Farassino, EDT, Turin 1989.