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Sharon Tate inThe Fearless Vampire Killers

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Entries in Dino De Laurentiis (3)

Aug 07 2019

De Laurentiis pt 3: Starting over in America

This week at TFE we're celebrating the centennial of one of cinema's most prolific and legendary producers,Dino De Laurentiis.In part one we looked athis breakout Italian hit,in part twoan expensive epic flop.Here's Mark Brinkerhoff as Dino crosses the Ocean...

Dino in 1970,and Al Pacino in Serpico (1973)
Dino De Laurentiis stormed Hollywood in the early ‘70s,quickly on the heels of fantastic successes like 1968'sBarbarellaandDanger: Diabolik ,which e ssentially closed out his previous decade ("essentially"because,man oh man,was this man ever prolific).
Having branched from Neo-Italian into more international,English-language cinema,De Laurentiis set his sights on riding the New Hollywood wave then cresting.While still making the occasional spaghetti western and period piece,his films began to dabble more in contemporary themes.In fact,aside fromThe Valachi Papers(1972),hisThe Godfathermanqué,De Laurentiis' initial forays into filming stateside resulted in his grittiest,most modern productions to date...

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Aug 06 2019

De Laurentiis pt 2: The '60s epics of Dinocittà

This week at TFE we're celebrating the centennial of one of cinema's most prolific and legendary producers,Dino De Laurentiis.Here'sTim Brayton...

Yesterday,Eric took us on a tour of the first phase of Dino De Laurentiis's one-of-a-kind career as a producer,the era when he and Carlo Ponti helped usher a number of major works of late Neorealism into the world,introducing the first wave of international art cinema masterpieces.We now arrive at the 1960s,when De Laurenteiis was emboldened by those early successes to indulge himself in the first of his many flights of staggering,ill-advised ambition.Near the start of the decade,De Laurentiis opened a movie studio on the outskirts of Rome,an enormous playground for moviemaking nicknamed Dinocittà (after the famous Cinecittà,then and now the heart of the Italian film industry).

The Dinocittà experiment perfectly describes De Laurentiis's singular personality.A visionary producer can tell what is going to be popularin the future,and thus can jump in on trends at the moment of their inception.The hacks who make up the bulk of commercial producers know what was populara year ago,and thus crank out movies that feel like uninspired cash-grabs and knock-offs.De Laurentiis had the gift and curse of knowing what's popularright this instant,and so his biggest swings – and too often,his biggest misses – came out just barely on the back side of the historical moment when they could live up to his extravagant hopes...

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Aug 05 2019

De Laurentiis pt 1: "Bitter Rice"and the Fellini Years

This week at TFE we're celebrating the centennial of one of cinema's most prolific and legendary producers,Dino De Laurentiis.  We'll start with three of his key influential early films.Here'sEric Blume...

Bitter Rice was De Laurentiis breakthrough international hit.He married its star

De Laurentiis,born outside of Naples,set up his own company in 1946 when he was just 27 years old.He produced four smaller films before making a huge splash onto the international scene with 1949'sBitter Rice,a film currently available through the Criterion Collection.Bitter Riceserves up an arresting and hypnotic blend of melodrama,sexuality,and social commentary.The film is set in northern Italy during a typical spring where hundreds of poor women travel to the rice fields to work to the bone for forty days.  There are workers with a legal contract and then the "illegals"who come in hopes of getting an opportunity.Within this sociopolitical context,our story finds two thieves (Doris Dowling and Victoria Gassman) hiding amongst the farm,intertwined in love stories with an impulsive young peasant girl (Silvana Mangano) and a soldier from the nearby station (Raf Vallone)...

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