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Age and Scarpelli

AGE and SCARPELLI



AGE. Writer. Nationality: Italian. Born: Agenore Incrocci in Brescia, 4 July 1919. Career: Worked as journalist: 1945–49—radio writer; 1947—first film script, I due orfanelli.


SCARPELLI. Writer. Nationality: Italian. Born: Furio Scarpelli in Rome, 16 December 1919. Family: Son: the writer Giacomo Scarpelli. Career: Worked as journalist.


1949—first co-written script, Totò cerca casa; 1954–55—co-wrote the musical revues Festival and Siamo tutti dottori.


Films as Co-Writers (Selected Filmography):

1949

Totò cerca casa (Steno and Monicelli); Il vedovo allegro(Mattòli); Totò le Moko (Bragaglia)

1950

Totò cerca moglie (Bragaglia); Totò Tarzan (Mattòli); 47morto che parla (Bragaglia); I cadetti di Guascogna (Mattòli)

1951

Arrivano i nostri (Mattòli); L'eroe sono io (Bragaglia); Signoriin carrozza! (Zampa); Auguri e figli maschi (Simonelli);Una bruna indiavolata (Bragaglia)

1952

Totò a colori (Steno); Totò e le donne (Steno and Monicelli);Ragazze da marito (De Filippo)

1953

Ivan, il figlio del diavolo bianco (Brignone); Capitan Fantasma(Zeglio); Cinema d'altri tempi (Steni); L'incantevole nemica(Gora); Gli uomini, che mascalzoni! (Pellegrini); Napoletania Milano (De Filippo)

1954

Le signorine delle 04 (Franciolini); Casa Ricordi (House ofRicordi) (Gallone); Sinfonia d'amore (Schubert) (Pellegrini)

1955

Casta diva (Gallone); Bravissimo! (d'Amico); Il bigamo(Emmer)

1956

Racconti romani (Roman Tales) (Franciolini); La banda deglionesti (Mastrocinque); Peccato di castità (Franciolini);Tempo di villeggiatura (Racioppi and Zampa); Una pellicciadi visone (Pellegrini); Padri e figli (The Tailor's Maid;Fathers and Sons) (Monicelli)

1957

Il medico e lo stregone (Monicelli); Souvenir d'Italie(Pietrangeli)

1958

Totò, Peppino, e le fanatiche (Mattòli); I soliti ignoti (BigDeal on Madonna Street) (Monicelli); Nata di marzo(Pietrangeli); La Loi . . . c'est la loi (The Law Is the Law)(Christian-Jaque); Primo amore (Camerini)

1959

Audace colpo dei soliti ignoti (Fiasco in Milan) (Loy);Policarpo, ufficiale di scrittura (Soldati); La grande guerra(The Great War) (Monicelli)

1960

Il mattatore (Love and Larceny) (Risi); Risate di gioia (ThePassionate Thief) (Monicelli); Tutti a casa (Everybody GoHome!) (Comencini)

1961

I due nemici (The Best of Enemies) (Hamilton); A cavallodella tigre (Comencini)

1962

Totò e Peppino divisi a Berlino (Bianchi); La marcia su Roma(Risi); Il commissario (Comencini); Il mafioso (Mafioso)(Lattuada)

1963

I compagni (The Organizer) (Monicelli); I mostri (Opiate '67;15 from Rome) (Risi); Il maestro di Vigevano (Petri)

1964

"Gente moderna" ("Modern People") ep. of Alta infedeltà(High Infidelity) (Monicelli); Frenesia dell'estate (Germi)

1965

Casanova '70 (Monicelli); "Il complesso della schiava nubiana" ep. of I complessi (Rossi); Io, io, io . . . e gli altri(Blasetti)

1966

Signore e signori (The Birds, the Bees, and the Italians)(Germi); Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo (The Good, the Bad,and the Ugly) (Leone); L'armata Brancaleone (Monicelli);"Il marito di Olga" and "Il marito di Attilia" eps. of Inostri mariti (Monicelli and Risi)

1967

"Senso civico" ("Civic Sense") ep. of Le streghe (TheWitches) (Bolognini); Il tigre (The Tiger and the Pussycat) (Risi); Ti ho sposato per allegria (I Married You for Fun) (Salce)

1968

Riusciranno i nostri eroi a trovare l'amico misteriosamentescomparso in Africa? (Scola); Straziami ma di baci saziami(Tear Me but Satiate Me with Your Kisses) (Risi); "La bambinaia" and "Perchè" eps. of Capriccio all'italiana(Monicelli and Bolognini)

1969

Rosolino Paternò, soldato (Loy)

1970

Dramma della gelosia, tutti i particolari in cronaca (ThePizza Triangle; A Drama of Jealousy and Other Things)(Scola); Brancaleone alle crociate (Monicelli)

1971

"Alberta" ep. of Noi donne siamo fatte cosi (Women: So WeAre Made) (Risi); In nome del popolo italiano (In the Name of the Italian People) (Risi)

1972

Senza famiglia nullatenenti, cercano affetto . . . (Gassman)

1973

Teresa la ladra (Di Palma); Vogliamo i colonnelli (Monicelli)

1974

Romanzo popolare (Monicelli); C'eravamo tanto amati (We All Loved Each Other So Much) (Scola)

1975

La donna della domenica (The Sunday Woman) (Comencini)

1976

L'Agnese va a morire (Montaldo); Signore e signori buonanotte(Comencini and others); "Il superiore" and "Macchina d'amore" eps. of Basta che non si sappia in giro(Magni and Loy)

1977

I nuovi mostri (The Monsters; Viva Italia!) (Risi and Scola)

1979

Temporale Rosy (Monicelli)

1980

La terrazza (Scola)

1981

"Armando's Notebook" ep. of Sunday Lovers (Risi); Nudo di donna (Portrait of a Woman, Nude) (Manfredi); Camera d'albergo (Monicelli)

1982

Spaghetti House (Paradisi)

1983

Il tassinaro (Sordi)

1985

Scemo di guerra (Risi)

1988

Una Botta di vita (Oldoini)

1999

Boom (Zaccariello) (Age only)

Other Films:

1947

I due orfanelli (Mattòli) (Age only)

1949

Vivere a sbafo (Ferroni) (Age only)

1983

Scherzo (Wertmüller) (Age only); Dagobert (Risi) (Age only);Un ragazzo, una ragazza (Risi) (Scarpelli only); Ballando ballando (Le Bal; The Ball) (Scola) (Scarpelli only)

1984

Cuori nella tormenta (Oldoini) (Scarpelli only)

1985

Maccheroni (Macaroni) (Scola) (Scarpelli only); I soliti ignoti vent'anni dopo (Todini) (Age only)

1987

La famiglia (The Family) (Scola) (Scarpelli only)

1989

Tempo di uccidere (The Short Cut; Le Raccourci; Time to Kill) (Montaldo) (Scarpelli only)

1990

Il viaggio di Capitan Fracassa (The Voyage of Captain Fracasse; Le Voyage du Capitaine Fracasse) (Scola)(Scarpelli only)

1991

La Pagaille (Thomas) (Age only); Il Conte Max (De Sica) (Age only); Zuppa di pesce (Infascelli) (Age only)

1992

Cattiva (Lizzani) (Scarpelli only)

1994

Il Postino (The Postman) (Radford) (Scarpelli only with his son Giacomo)

1995

Celluloide (Lizzani) (Scarpelli only)

Publications


By AGE and SCARPELLI: books—

With Mario Monicelli, Romanzo popolare, Milan, 1974.

Age & Scarpelli in Commedia, edited by Claudio Trionfera, Rome, 1990.

By AGE: book—


Scriviamo un film, Parma, 1990.


By SCARPELLI: book—

With Ettore Scola, Disegni per il cinema: Furio Scarpelli ed Ettore Scola, Mantova, 1985.


By AGE and SCARPELLI: articles—

Jeune Cinéma (Paris), March 1975.

Positif (Paris), May 1977.

Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris), February 1979.

Avant-Scène (Paris), February 1981.

Bianco e Nero, July 1986.

CinémAction, March 1987.

Positif (Paris), May 1991.

CinémAction, October 1991.


By AGE: articles—

Image et Son (Paris), May 1977.

Cinéma (Paris), February 1978.

Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris), February 1979.


By SCARPELLI: articles—

Skoop, September-October 1986.

CinémAction (Courbevoie), January 1994.


* * *

Audiences familiar with popular Italian comedies from the sixties and early seventies cannot have missed the names of Age and Scarpelli from the credits. Apart from being the most representative writers of comedy "in the Italian style," they have marked the careers of many reputed filmmakers; a recent film historian has labeled them "the key binomial" in the evolution of Italian cinema. Both come from artistic milieus and get involved with theater, vaudeville, and satirical journals (they met as part of the staff of the famous magazine Marc Aurelio) while still very young. They share with contemporaries such as Fellini, Monicelli, Risi, Scola, and Steno the taste for mordant verbal satire and its visualization, initially present in sketches and drawings, later to become subjects for feature-length films. Their first four-hand achievement is one of the numerous comedies starring the Keatonesque Totò, called Totò cerca casa, co-directed by one of their future habitués, director Mario Monicelli. Totò's innate sense for surrealist performance considerably influenced their screenwriting trajectory, allowing them to turn ordinary situations into models of irony and understatement. Another notable influence was Sergio Amidei, also known as the dean of postwar scriptwriting, with whom they wrote Le signorine delle 04; Amidei favors "the horizontal story," which allows several sub-stories to unfold simultaneously, as opposed to "the vertical story," in which plot-points lead to an expected finale.

After a couple of rather "operatic" productions such as Casa Ricordi and Casta diva, Age and Scarpelli eventually imposed their personal style, achieving an unprecedented blend between dramatic neorealism and satirical comedy. Their "youth-oriented" films, mainly directed by Monicelli, Comencini, and Risi (with whom they tried to set up a production company called "Film Cinque"), feature minor characters, small-time thieves, and homeless vitelloni whose humor, generosity, and wit facilitate audience identification: I soliti ignoti, Tutti a casa, I compagni, and I mostri (famous sketch-film with a sequel made 14 years later, I nuovi mostri) are just a few highlights of an outstandingly rich creative decade. The sixties also enabled the two screenwriters to desacralize various taboo subjects: war heroes are demystified (La grande guerra and La marcia su Roma) and middle-age icons ridiculed (L'armata Brancaleone); the sexual revolution, although incipient, is foregrounded (noteworthy in this respect is the collaboration with Pietro Germi, director of Sedotta e abbandonata and Signore e signori). Their versatile screenwriting style facilitated the revival of the Leone-Western (Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo) and turned a parodic melodrama by Ettore Scola (Dramma della gelosia) into a landmark Italian comedy from the early seventies. The subsequent production of Age and Scarpelli is more heterogeneous, although no less exciting: they were invited to write more scripts for sketch-films (i.e., Noi donne siamo fatte cosi by Dino Risi), while continuing to transgress political and historical taboos through ferocious farces (i.e., Vogliamo i colonnelli and its group of fascist nostalgics who set up a coup).

Nonetheless, 1974 proved a crucial year in the career of these modern-time Goldonis: they created one of their best comedies of manners, Monicelli's Romanzo popolare. The traditional love triangle staging the husband, his wife, and her lover is the pretext for analyzing the important gap separating urban and nonurban population, the North and the South, the "written" Italian language and the various dialects which Age and Scarpelli relish using in many of their scripts. In a totally different vein, C'eravamo tanto amati heralded a new beginning in their collaboration with Scola and coincided with a change in tone, an almost autumnal echoing of their common youth: the audience is confronted with individual destinies, their revolutionary ideals and their broken dreams. A few years later, in La terrazza, this autobiographical overture was further developed into an unconventional meditation of a group of aging intellectuals, one of them played by none other than Age.

The eighties witnessed a further diversification in the screenwriters' working style: they started collaborating with directors from the younger generation (Age with Fiorella Infascelli, Scarpelli with Marco Risi), wrote scripts for actors' films (Manfredi, Sordi, etc.) and did not refrain from adapting famous novels (Scemo di guerra, after Il deserto di Libia by Mario Tobino) or from issuing "international products" (Spaghetti House and Maccheroni). Some of the abovementioned films were scripted separately, others still in collaboration; Age and Scarpelli eventually decided to "part ways" in the mideighties, confessing above all a need for change and a natural impulse to help young filmmakers and start teaching on a more permanent basis. Such a decision did not prevent them from pursuing hectic careers, Age in France and Italy, Scarpelli mostly with Scola, but also more recently with his own son, Giacomo (for the Oscar-nominated Il Postino). Proving that they are still active and occasionally reunited into the nineties, Age and Scarpelli are credited for a 1996 musical revue, Bobbi sa tutto. Paraphrasing the musical, one could almost state that the "key binomial" definitely knows everything about successful screenwriting.

—Dominique Nasta

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