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Cervi, Gino

CERVI, Gino



Nationality: Italian. Born: Luigi Cervi in Bologna, 3 May 1901. Family: Married the actress Nini Gordini, son: the producer Tonino Cervi. Career: 1924—stage debut with Aldo Borelli's troupe; later performed with Pirandello's acting troupe as well as other theater groups; 1932—screen debut in patriotic air force epic L'armata assura; late 1950s—began appearing frequently on TV, notably as Inspector Maigret in series based on Simenon novels. Died: In Punta Alta, Italy, 3 January 1974.

Films as Actor:

1932

L'armata assura (Righelli)

1933

T'amerò sempre (Camerini)

1934

Frontiere (Meano and Caraphi)

1935

Aldebaran (Blasetti) (as Camado Valeri); Amore (Bragaglia) (as Paolo)

1936

I due sergenti (Guazzoni)

1937

Ettore Fieramosca (Blasetti); Gli uomini non sono ingrati (Brignone); L'argine (d'Errico) (as Zugni)

1938

I figli del marchese Lucera (Palermi); Inventiamo l'amore (Mastrocinque) (as Carlo); Voglio vivere con Letizia (Mastrocinque)

1940

La peccatrice (Palermi) (as Alberto); Un'avventura di Salvator Rosa (Blasetti) (as Salvator Rosa); Melodie eterne (Eternal Melodies) (Gallone) (as Mozart); Une romantica avventura (Camerini); La corona di ferro (The Iron Crown) (Blasetti) (as King Sedemondo)

1941

I promessi sposi (Father Christopher's Prayer; The Spirit and the Flesh) (Camerini) (as Renzo); La regina di Navarra (Gallone) (as Charles V); Il sogno di tutti (Biancoli and Kisch)

1942

L'ultimo addio (Cerio) (as Paolo); Acque di primavera (Malasomma); Don Cesare di Bazan (Freda) (as Don Cesare); Gente dell'aria (Pratelli); Quattro passi fra le nuvole (Four Steps in the Clouds) (Blasetti); Quarta pagina (Manzari)

1943

Tristi amori (Gallone); Che distinta famiglia (M. Bonnard); T'amero sempre (Camerini); La locandiera (Chiarini) (as the Poet); Nessuno torna indietro (Blasetti)

1944

Quartetto Pazzo (Salvini); Sensa famiglia (Ferroni); Vivere ancora (Gianini)

1945

Lo sbaglio di essere vivo (My Widow and I) (Bragaglia); Le miserie del signor Travet (His Young Wife) (Soldati)

1946

Malia (Amato); Umanità (Bragaglia); Un uomo ritorna (Revenge) (Neufeld); Aquila nera (Freda)

1947

L'angelo e il diavolo (Camerini); Cronaca nera (Bianchi); Daniele Cortis (Soldati); Furia (Alessandrini)

1948

I miserabili (Les Miserables) (Freda) (as Jean Valjean); La signora della camelie (Bernard); Anna Karenina (Duvivier) (as Enrico)

1949

Guglielmo Tell (William Tell) (Pastino); Yvonne la nuit (Amato); La fiamma che no si spegne (Cottafavi); Fabiola (Blasetti); La passione secondo San Matteo (Marischka); La sposa non puo attendere (Franciolini)

1950

Donne senza nome (Women without Names) (Radvanyi); Il cielo è rosso (Gora); La scolgiera del peccato (Montero); Sigillo rosso (Calzavaro); Il caimano del Piave (Bianchi)

1951

Cristo proibito (Forbidden Christ; Strange Deception) (Malaparte); Cameriera bella presenza offrersi (Pastini); O.K. Nerone (O.K. Nero) (Soldati) (as Nero)

1952

Le Petit Monde de Don Camillo (The Little World of Don Camillo) (Duvivier) (as Peppone); Tre storie proibite (Three Forbidden Stories) (Genina); Moglie per una notte (Wife for a Night) (Camerini); La regina di Saba (The Queen of Sheba) (Francisci) (as Solomon); La Dame aux camélias (Bernard)

1953

Stazioni termini (Indiscretion of an American Wife) (De Sica); Le Retour de Don Camillo (The Return of Don Camillo) (Duvivier) (as Peppone); La signora senza camelie (Camille without Camelias) (Antonioni); Les Trois Mousquetaires (Hunebelle); Si Versailles m'était conté (Guitry); Nerone a Messalina (Zeglio); Maddalena (Genina); Addio mia bella signora (Cerchio); Fate largo ai moschettieri (Hunebelle); La grande avventura; Cavallina storna (Morelli); Una donna libera (Cottafavi); Napoléon (Guitry)

1955

Il cardinale Lambertini (Pastini); Frou frou (Genina); Non c'è amore piu grande (Bianchi); Don Camillo e l'onorevole Peppone (Gallone) (as Peppone); Gli innamorati (Wild Love) (Bolognini); Il coraggio (Paolella)

1956

Guardia, guardia scelta, brigadiere e maresciallo (Bolognini); Beatrice Cenci (Freda); Moglie e buoi . . . (de Mitri); Amanti del deserto (Le Fils du chiek; The Desert Warrior) (Cerchio)

1957

Amore e chiacchiere (Blasetti); Ragazze delle nuvole (Costa)

1958

Agguato a Tangeri (Freda); Le belle dell'aria (Costa); La maja desnuda (The Naked Maja) (Koster) (as King Carlos of Spain); Sans Famille (Michel)

1959

Nel segno di Roma (Brignone); Noi gangsters; Brevi amori a Palma di Majorca (Bianchi); Cartagine in fiamme; Le grand chef (The Big Chief) (Verneuil)

1960

La lunga notte del '43 (Vancini); I sicari di Hitler; L'assedio di Siracusa (Siege of Syracuse) (Francisci) (as Gerone); Le olimpiadi dei mariti (Bianchi); Femmine di lusso (Love the Italian Way) (White) (as Lemeni); La rivolta degli schiavi (The Revolt of the Slaves) (Malasomma); Herrin der Welt (Dieterle)

1961

Che gioia vivere (Quelle joie de vivre) (Clément); Un figlio d'oggi (Girolami and Graziano); Don Camillo, monsignore . . . ma non troppo (Gallone) (as Peppone); Gli attendenti (Bianchi); Geheimaktion schwarze Kapelle (Habib)

1962

Le Crime ne paie pas (Crime Does Not Pay) ("La Masque" ep.) (Oury); Dieci italiani per un Tedesco (La Furie des S.S.) (Ratti); La monaca di Monza (Gallone); Gli anni ruggenti (Zampa); Il cambio della guardia (Bianchi); Avanti la musica (Bianchi); Il fiorno piu'corto (Corbucci)

1963

La smania addosso (Eye of the Needle) (Andrei) (as D'Angelo); Gli onorevoli (Corbucci); Le Bon Roi Dagobert (Chevalier)

1964

Becket (Glenville) (as Cardinal Zambelli); Volles Herz und leere Tashcen (Mastrocinque)

1965

Il compagno Don Camillo (Comencini) (as Peppone)

1967

Maigret a Pigalle (Landi)

1972

Don Camillo e i giovani d'oggi (as Peppone); Uccidere in silenzio (Rolando); I racconti romani di Pietro l'Aretino (Tosini)



Publications


On CERVI: article—

"Gino Cervi," letter from V. Martinelli in Films in Review (New York), June-July 1975.

* * *

For several decades, Gino Cervi was the leading character actor in Italy and certainly one of the pillars of the industry. He began as a stage actor in 1924; a few years later he made his screen debut in a film on the Air Force. Immediately demonstrating his versatility, he starred in Camerini's melancholic love story T'amerò sempre. He was one of Alessandro Blasetti's favorite actors, providing a commanding presence in the historical epics Ettore Fieramosca, Un'avventura di Salvator Rosa, and La corona di ferro. Blasetti recognized Cervi's range and cast him in the role of the plain, downtrodden traveling salesman who aids an unwed mother in Four Steps in the Clouds, the first of Cervi's films to be shown widely outside Italy.

His performance in one scene of a little-known film, La Peccatrice, is a tour de force that represents Cervi's combination of technical virtuosity and naturalness. He plays a cad living in a small town; a person he has victimized, the "sinner" of the title, has returned to the town after several years and watches him eating alone in a restaurant. In this scene he must express the cad's entire character—his disregard for others, his lack of conscience, his pomposity—simply by eating his meal.

After the war, he continued to give credence to Italian costume dramas and historical epics but reached an international audience through his portrayal of Peppone, the Communist mayor in Giovanni Guareschi's series of novels about Don Camillo. Cervi played the role in Duvivier's first version of the story in 1952 and in the many sequels. His resonant voice enabled him to work as a dubber (he dubbed Olivier's voice for the Italian versions of his Shakespeare films) and achieve considerable success on stage. For Italian television, he played Georges Simenon's Inspector Maigret in a series of productions.

—Elaine Mancini

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