Friday, September 30

The Cinecitt studios: magic, scandal and provocations


Sophia Loren and Stephen Boyd during a stop on the set of The Fall of the Roman Empire at Cinecitt in 1963.GTRES
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  • Le Scandal Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton’s forbidden kiss that nearly cost them $50 million

In every dictatorship, advertising control It is basic to subdue the people. When Mussolini came to power as President of the Italian Council of Ministers under the reign of Victor Emmanuel III immediately knew that Image’s power was crucial not only to entertain the town, but also to manipulate it.

Mindful the magic orchestrated by the Hollywood machinerythe charismatic dictator, in the image and almost likeness of what his colleague Adolf Hitler did in Germany thanks to his propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, and the film director Leni Riefenstahl, They put the workers to work.

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Mussolini’s hand did not shake to lay the first stone in January 1936 of what they will be cinecitt Studios, one of the most notable in Europe together with those of Pinewood in London. Hundreds of employees worked intermittently to get the complex located outside Rome officially opened on April 28, 1937. Eighty-five years later it continues to bear fruit, although A few days ago I ran into serious danger when the fire almost destroyed the plats of The young PopeBig Brother Y Ass and Florence.

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As a result of World War II, Cinecitt became in a refugee camp, but in the 1950s it stood out as the new Hollywood. The productions were much cheaper and the stars crossed the puddle. The landing of Robert Taylor, Deborah Kerr and Peter Ustinov to roll Qvo Vadis (1951) marked the beginning of what experts called Hollywood on the Tiber, in honor of the river that crosses the Italian capital. Other memorable titles such as Holidays in Rome (1953), first lead of Audrey Hepburn for which she won the Oscar for best actress thanks to the help of her friend Gregory Peck. In 1959 it was the turn of the Ben Hur of Charlton Heston.

Richard Burton, at the Roman Studios filming Cleopatra, in 1961.
Richard Burton, at the Roman Studios filming Cleopatra, in 1961.GTRES

But if Cinecitt is remembered for anything, it was becauser the great scandal What did the filming of Cleopatra (1963), where they fell in love Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton when both were married to their respective partners (Eddie Fisher and Sybil Christopher), so when the photos of their kiss were published they were excommunicated by the Vatican and reviled by the Leagues of Decency.

Cinecitt, with an area of ​​900,000 mtwoit was the epicenter of the paparazzi. A hitherto unknown term that Fellini christened during the preparation of the sweet life and that was exported to the United States several years later thanks to the magazine Time. A dozen image hunters on their scooters (Secchiaroli, Sorci, Geppetti, Praturlon, Barillari or Quinto) made gold portraying celebrities who until then they had been protected by the marketing departments of Hollywood studios.

The paparazzi were very bad. Always they tried to provoke us for us to make a gesture and shout something obscene so we could be photographed

No Philips.

Rhino Barillari I was a minor when I caught Peter O’Toole drunk with his mistress, Barbara Steele, while was still married with actress Sin Phillips. That caused the protagonist of Lawrence of Arabia I would stamp the camera on the photographer. “They were very bad. They always they tried to provoke us so that we would make a gesture and shout something obscene so that we could be photographed. They get into the rooms, they rebuked us in the street and all you could do was smile. Peter ended up so fed up that he moved the production of her film to France because they respected us there, “he confessed to the writer of these lines Sin Philips.

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Anita Eckberg, protagonist next to Marcello Mastroianni of the sweet life, shoot arrows with a bow to the paparazzi; Franco Nero he messed up with a clean slap just like he did Mickey Hargitay (husband Jayne Mansfield and father of Mariska, protagonist of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) Y Walter Chiari get some monumental anger because I had a relationship with Lucia Bos and they caught him red-handed with Ava Gardner.

Since its inauguration, they have shot over 3,000 movies. In Cinecitt they emerged as troupes Alberto Sordi, Sofia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida, who would end up being three of the greatest stars in the history of Italian cinema. A curiosity: Mussolini’s granddaughter, Alessandra, is Loren’s niece.

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