Renato Castellani

Sog.: dal racconto omonimo di Aleksandr Puškin. Scen.: Mario Bonfantini, Renato Castellani, Corrado Pavolini, Mario Soldati, Alberto Moravia. F.: Massimo Terzano. M.: Mario Serandrei. Scgf.: Nicola Benois, Gastone Medin. Mus.: Vincenzo Tommasini. Int.: Assia Noris (Mascia), Fosco Giachetti (Andrea Anickoff), Antonio Centa (Sergio Drutzky), Rubi Dalma (la contessa Giulia), Renato Cialente (Gerardo de Valmont), Mimì Dugini (Antonietta), Emilio Petacci (il notaio), Anna Capodaglio (Maria Nicolajevna, la governante), Agnese Dubbini (Dora, la locandiera), Ugo Sasso (Tommaso, il marito di Dora). Prod.: Lux Film · 35 mm. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

A rather freewheeling and inventive adaptation of Puškin’s very short (16 pages) tale, this incredibly controlled and efficiently crafted first film by Castellani must no doubt be the source of his being labelled ‘calligraphist’, which is the typical damnation befallen on Mario Soldati (one of the screenwriters) and other very competent filmmakers, as if having a good handwriting could be something bad… Astonishingly rich and luxuriant for a film made during the Second World War, with an impressive reconstruction of Russia and Ucraine during the 1830s, Un colpo di pistola fails in the acting department: Fosco Giachetti turns his Andrea into an humorless character, while his friend turned arch-enemy Sergio (as played by Antonio Centa) seems quite silly, and who could fall in love with beautiful but cold (and annoyingly coy) Assia Noris as Masha… Anyhow, Un colpo di pistola is a very impressive success, in particular for a complete newcomer, and very strikingly in the first, introductory sequence, before the flashback narration starts, which owes nothing to Puškin.

Miguel Marías

I was working with Blasetti on La corona di ferro produced by Lux. Aside from being assistant director, I had written the scenario and worked on the screenplay. Libero Solaroli, who was a great friend of mine, asked me if I was familiar with Puškin’s novella The Shot. I wasn’t. I quickly got the book and read it. I liked the novella a lot, so much that I stayed awake that night in my little room (I was living in Via Flaminia) and wrote non-stop most of the scenario. Two days later I took it to Lux. Just a few days later I received a call from Gatti, the production manager, telling me the company wanted to make the film.
When Un colpo di pistola was screened, I was criticized for formalism and being cold. Seeing it again, I think it is pure slander. It was not cold at all. Formal? The film was shot on purpose in a studied way, in the name of elegance. At this rate, making comparisons where due, we could accuse even Flaubert of formalism. In substance, the film is anything but cold because it is a long mulling over the friendship between two men. The woman functions a bit like a mirror.

Renato Castellani, Quattro soggetti, Centro Cattolico Cinematografico, Rome, 1983

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