Sog.: Lucio Battistrada, Armando Crispino, Gaetano ‘Giuliani’ De Negri. Scen.: Lucio Battistrada, Giuliano Montaldo. F.: Erico Menczer. M.: Attilio Vincioni. Scgf.: Hanzin Axerio. Mus.: Piero Umiliani. Int.: Renato Salvatori (Ettore Zambrini), Norma Benguell (Luciana Zambrini), Antonio Segurini (Marco), Marina Malfatti (amica di Luciana), Dino Fontanesi, Raffaele Triggia, Iginio Marchesini, Gino Agostini, Enrico Rame, Giuliano Montaldo. Prod.: Gaetano ‘Giuliani’ De Negri per Ager Film, Clodio Cinematografica. DCP. Bn.
A few years after Tiro al piccione producer-partisan Giuliani generously asked me if I wanted to do Una bella grinta, an idea of his and Lucio Battistrada’s. But the money was… let’s just say there wasn’t any. The film was supposed to cost 20 million lire, but the money actually spent on the production was not more than six or seven million. A laughable figure even at the time. Una bella grinta is a film I’d like to remake today – maybe set in the world of the so-called new economy – because it doesn’t seem to have lost any of its relevance: it describes unbridled, wild neo-capitalism. The main character is an ambitious guy who leaves the Emilian countryside where he was born and raised to build a small factory along the Autostrada del Sole motorway. And that’s his whole idea: there is no manufacturing basis, no industrial production, just the idea that having a factory along the motorway translates into visibility, publicity, wealth. It’s pure marketing. The film received excellent reviews, and no one watched it, not even my mother. We shot the film in Bologna, a truly hospitable and open city. The main character was Renato Salvatori, dubbed by the Bolognese actor Raoul Grassilli. Some actors were literally found just before shooting: when we saw someone with a face we liked, we would stop him, even in the middle of the street, and ask: “What do you do, where are you going? Take a break with us to work on a film.” When the money ran out, Salvatori came to the rescue: he would spend a night playing poker – he had a great poker face – and the next day we could pay the bills. Salvatori was a star, fresh from Poveri ma belli, Big Deal on Madonna Street and Rocco and His Brothers, but he wasn’t born rich. He knew what it meant to work and was ready to do anything. He worked hard, was generous, really had a ‘bella grinta’ … The funny thing is, in retrospect, the film was invited to the Berlinale, much to the surprise of the Italian ‘majors’, and it did well, winning the Special Jury Prize and the Prize of the Senate.
Giuliano Montaldo in Alberto Crespi, Dal Polo all’equatore. I film e le avventure di Giuliano Montaldo, Marsilio, Venice 2005