Flaiano, Ennio, and Tullio Pinelli
FLAIANO, Ennio, and Tullio PINELLI
FLAIANO. Writer. Nationality: Italian. Born: Pescara, 5 March 1910. Education: Studied architecture in Rome. Career: Architect; then journalist; drama critic, Offi; contributor to Mondo; 1942—film writing debut for La danza del fuoco. Died: 20 November 1972.
PINELLI. Writer. Nationality: Italian. Born: Turin, 24 June 1908. Education: Degree in law. Career: Attorney until 1942; also playwright in Turin dialect (plays produced include 'L Sôfà d'la marchesa 'd Mômbarôn, 1932; I porta, 1936; Crotta, lupo, Pegaso, and Lo Stilita, 1938; L'arcidiavolo di Radicofani and I padri etruschi, 1941; Il padre nudo and Lotta con l'angelo, 1942; La leggenda dell'assassino, 1949; Gorgonio, 1952; Mattutino and L'inferno, 1954; Ciarlatano, 1967; Santa Marina, 1970; Giardino delle Sfingi, 1975); film writer from 1945. Awards: Ufficiale di Cavalleria. Address: Via Lucio Cassio 13, Rome 00189, Italy.
Films as Writers:
Luci del varietà (Variety Lights) (Fellini and Lattuada)
Lo sceicco bianco (The White Sheik) (Fellini)
I vitelloni (Fellini); Riscatto (Girolami)
La strada (Fellini)
Il bidone (The Swindle) (Fellini)
Le notti di Cabiria (The Nights of Cabiria; Cabiria) (Fellini)
Fortunella (De Filippo)
La dolce vita (Fellini)
"La tentazioni di Dottor Antonio" ("The Temptations of Dr. Antonio") ep. of Boccaccio '70 (Fellini)
8½ (Otto e mezzo) (Fellini)
Giulietta degli spiriti (Juliet of the Spirits) (Fellini)
Films as Writer—Flaiano:
La danza del fuoco (Simonelli); Pastor Angelicus (Marcellini)
Inviati speciali (Marcellini); L'abito nero da sposa (Zampa)
La freccia nel fianco (Lattuada)
Roma città libera (La notte porta consiglio) (Pagliero); L'ultimo paradiso (Quilici)
Fuga in Francia (Flight into France) (Soldati)
Cintura di castità (Mastrocinque)
Parigi è sempre Parigi (Emmer); Guardie e ladri (Cops and Robbers) (Steno)
Fanciulle di lusso (Luxury Girls) (Vorhaus and Mussetta); "Elizabeth" ("Due donne") ep. of Destini di donne (Daughters of Destiny) (Pagliero); Il mondo le condanna (Franciolini)
Dov'è la liberta? (Rossellini); "Scene all'aperto" ep. of Temip nostri (Blasseti); Canzoni, canzoni, canzoni (Paolella); Vesire gli ignudi (Pagliero); Villa Borghese (It Happened in the Park) (Franciolini)
La donna del fiurne (Soldati); Camilla (Emmer); Peccato che sia una canaglia (Too Bad She's Bad) (Blasetti); La romana (Woman of Rome) (Zampa); La vergine moderna (Pagliero)
Totò e Carolina (Monicelli—produced 1953); Il segno di Venere (The Sign of Venus) (Risi); La fortuna di essere donna (Lucky to Be a Woman) (Blasetti)
Calabuch (Berlanga); Terrore sulla città (Majano)
Un ettaro di cielo (Casadio); Racconti d'estate (Love on the Riviera; Summer Tales) (Franciolini)
La ragazza in vetrina (Emmer); Un amore a Roma (Love in Rome) (Risi); Fantasmi a Roma (Pietrangeli); La notte (The Night) (Antonioni)
Hong Kong un addio (Polidoro)
El verdugo (Not on Your Life) (Berlanga)
Tonio Kroger (Thiele)
Una moglie americana (Run for Your Wife) (Polidoro); La decima vittima (The 10th Victim) (Petri); Rapture (Guillermin)
Io, io, io . . . e gli altri (Blasetti)
"Ere préhistorique" ("Prehistoric Era") and "Nuits romaines" ("Roman Nights") eps. of Le Plus Vieux Métier du monde (The Oldest Profession) (Indovina and Bolognini); I protagonisti (Fondato)
Vivi, o preferibilmente morti (Tessari); Colpe rovente (Zuffi); Red (Carle)
La Cagna (Liza) (Ferreri)
L'inchiesta (The Inquiry) (co)
Films as Writer—Pinelli:
Le miserie del signor Travet (Soldati)
La figlia del capitano (Camerini); Il passatore (Coletti)
Senza pietà (Without Pity) (Lattuada); "Il miracolo" ("The Miracle") ep. of Amore (The Ways of Love) (Rossellini); Come persi la guerra (Borghesio)
Il mulino del Po (The Mill on the Po) (Lattuada); In nome della legge (In the Name of the Law) (Germi)
Il cammino della speranza (The Path of Hope) (Germi)
La città si difende (Germi); Cameriera bella presenza offresi (Pastina)
Wanda, la peccatrice (Coletti)
"Un' agenzia matrimoniale" ep. of Amore in città (Love in the City) (Fellini); Pieta per chi cade (Costa); Traviata '53 (Cottafavi)
Sinfonia d'amore—Schubert (Pellegrini); Gli amori di Manon Lescaut (Costa)
Adua e le compagne (Love à la carte) (Petrangeli)
Le steppa (The Steppe) (Lattuada)
"Il trattato di eugenetica" ("Treatise in Eugenics") ep. of Le bambole (Comencini)
San Francesco (Cavani)
L'immorale (The Climax) (Germi)
Galileo (Cavani); Serafino (Germi)
Il giardino dei Finzi-Contini (The Garden of the Finzi-Contini) (De Sica)
Alfredo, Alfredo (Germi)
Amici miei (My Friends) (Germi and Monicelli)
Per le antiche scale (Down the Ancient Stairs) (Bolognini)
Viaggio con Anita (Travels with Anita) (Monicelli)
Cristoforo Colombo (Lattuada)
Amici miei atto II (Monicelli)
Amici miei III (Loy)
Speriamo che sia femmina (Monicelli)
Ginger e Fred (Fellini)
La voce della luna (The Voice of the Moon) (Fellini)
By FLAIANO and PINELLI: books—
With others, La dolce vita (script), edited by T. Kesich, Rocca San Casciano, 1959, translated as La Dolce Vita, New York, 1961.
With others, Juliet of the Spirits (script), New York, 1965.
With Federico Fellini, Moraldo in the City (script), edited by John C. Stubbs, Urbana, Illinois, 1983.
By FLAIANO: books—
La guerra spiegata ai poveri (play), Turin, 1946.
Tempo di uccidere (novel), Milan, 1947, as Miriam, London, 1949.
Diario notturno (novel), Milan, 1956.
La donna nell armadio (play), Turin, 1957.
Una e una notte (novel), Milan, 1959.
Un marziano a Roma (play), Turin, 1960.
With Antonioni and Tonino Guerra, La notte (script) in Screenplays by Michelangelo Antonioni, New York, 1963.
Il gioco e il massacro (novel), Milan, 1970.
Opere, Milan, 1970.
La conversazione continuamente interrotta (play), Turin, 1972.
Le ombre bianche, Milan, 1972.
La solitudine del satiro (novel), Milan, 1973.
Autobiografia del Blu di Prussia, Milan, 1974.
Diario degli errori, edited by Emma Giammattei, Milan, 1976.
Lettere d'amore al cinema, edited by Christina Bragaglia, Milan, 1978.
Melampo, Turin, 1978.
Storie inedite per film mai fatti, Milan, 1984.
By PINELLI: books—
Re Hassan (libretto), Milan, 1938.
La pulce d'oro (libretto), Milan, 1940.
La croce deserta (libretto), Milan, 1950.
With Fellini, La strada (script), in Cinema Nuovo (Turin), September/October 1954.
With others, Otto e mezzo (script), edited by Camilla Cederna, Bologna, 1965.
Il giardino della sfingi e altri commedie, Turin, 1975.
With L. Benvenutti and P. De Bernardi, Amici miei (script), Milan, 1976.
By PINELLI: article—
Positif (Paris), no. 351, May 1990.
CinémAction (Courbevoie), January 1994.
Positif (Paris), July-August 1995.
Filmvilag (Budapest), vo. 38, no. 2, 1995.
On FLAIANO: book—
Berterelli, Gian Carlo, and Pier Marco de Santi, Omaggio a Flaiano, Pisa, 1986.
On FLAIANO: articles—
Cineforum (Bergamo, Italy), vol. 23, no. 221, January/February 1983.
Revue de la Cinémathèque (Montreal), December 1990/January 1991.
On PINELLI: articles—
Barbetti, E., in Teatro, vol. 2, 1950.
Tassone, in Positif (Paris), July 1985.
Chion, Michel, "Fellini roman," in Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris), December 1993.
* * *
Ennio Flaiano and Tullio Pinelli, important Italian playwrights and screenwriters each in his own right, are known internationally as collaborators with Federico Fellini on all of his first nine features and two shorts (though only Pinelli worked on the first of the latter), from Luci del varietà (1950) through Giulietta degli spiriti (1965). Fellini met Pinelli in 1947 as a fellow scenarist; they worked together on at least seven films for other directors, notably Roberto Rossellini and Alberto Lattuada, between 1947 and 1951. Flaiano joined the team for Fellini's first feature (co-directed by Lattuada). Both writers always received credit, listed after Fellini himself, for screenplay, and often one or the other for original story (again with Fellini) as well. Yet they never worked together on a film for any other director, with the exception of Eduardo De Filippo's Fortunella (1957)—on which Fellini worked as well.
Critics have been fond of neatly contrasting Pinelli and Flaiano as reflecting opposing sides of the master: e.g., as "respectively the devout mystical side and the skeptical, ironic side" of Fellini (Times Literary Supplement, 1961); or as his "mystical" (again) and "comical or irreverent" sides (Edward Murray, Fellini the Artist, 1976); or Pinelli as "methodical, rational, well-balanced . . . serious, dramatic and full of enthusiasm" and Flaiano as "casual and skeptical, hating vagueness and over-emphasis, in fact he is anti-poetic. It is he who has always played the part of the devil's advocate between Fellini and Pinelli, by avoiding excess lyricism and anchoring himself to reality. He suggests theories for social satire to Fellini" (Angelo Solmi, Fellini, 1962). Fellini himself, in a 1962 interview, while less neatly characterizing Pinelli as a "most serious" and "most fruitful" playwright and Flaiano "the subtle writer, the delicate humorist, the ardent chronicler of Italian life," agreed that the two were "temperamentally quite different but . . . basically complementary; that is, when they are working together, I feel that each is giving the best of himself."
It appears impossible to separate out the exact contributions of each to the final films because of the trio's informal working methods and Fellini's changes at the shooting stage, though it is sometimes on record as to who contributed dialogue to which scenes. (These working methods, it should be added, are fairly typical for the Italian film industry.) According to the director, he would typically get an idea, then tell his scenarists about it "without dramatizing it at all, just as if I were telling a story." At some point in this early stage one or more of the three would do "field research," whether interviewing swindlers for Il bidone, strolling on the Via Veneto for La dolce vita, or visiting spas for 8½. At later meetings "we behave in such a way as to avoid the heavy, formal atmosphere of a working session . . . we chat around the subject, and develop it. . . . Then, when the story begins to have a fairly precise thread in it, we often divide up the work. Pinelli takes some scenes, Flaiano others, and I take others myself, but we do all we can to give this creation . . . the greatest possible freedom . . . because I shouldn't be able to work with a very carefully constructed screenplay. . . . I need to be given freedom within an extremely elastic screenplay, not in order to improvise, exactly, but so that I can enrich a character or a situation while the film is actually being made."
Angelo Solmi's biography of Fellini provides glimpses of how the trio worked on two particular films. For La strada, Pinelli wandered on foot in the Turin region to observe gypsies at village fairs. The subsequent scenario he and Fellini devised was a "compromise between the carefree tone Fellini had in mind and Pinelli's more dramatic one," but still more "somber and legendary . . . magical" than the completed film was to be. Flaiano was then called in to "say derogatory things about La strada for three months. . . . I condemned a vagueness of atmosphere, certain affectations in the characters," and insisted the story should "come down to earth" and the "symbolism should be integrated with the narrative." Flaiano still gave Fellini the credit for balancing the neorealist and poetic elements of the film.
For Le notti di Cabiria each wrote dialogue for different scenes. Flaiano successfully fought to keep the episode with the film star, which Fellini had been inclined to remove. The final scene of the film originated when Flaiano recalled an actual murder of a prostitute and Pinelli suggested it be the model for the end of the film and of Cabiria; Fellini and Flaiano insisted that Cabiria should live, but it was Pinelli, bowing to their demand, who all the same was the one to develop the scene in detail.
During the making of Giulietta degli spiriti, Pinelli and Flaiano became increasingly alienated from the director's vision. By the time the film was completed Flaiano felt shabbily treated by Fellini and ceased to have any professional or social contact with him. Pinelli too, after nearly 20 years of working with Fellini, no longer collaborated with the director, who established a whole new team of artists and technicians for his later films, with the notable carryover of the composer Nino Rota. Yet 20 years after Giulietta, Fellini returned to Pinelli for assistance on the screenplay for Ginger e Fred and again for work on La voce della luna.
Recent biographies of Fellini (e.g., Hollis Alpert's 1986 Fellini: A Life) and studies of his films (Peter Bondanella's 1992 The Cinema of Federico Fellini) give more prominent attention to Pinelli than to Flaiano, if only because of the former's longer working relationship with the director and his continuing availability for interviews. Yet it may be fairly said of both men that however much in the service of Fellini's vision they worked, the two screenwriters made incalculably important contributions to an unbroken series of astonishingly fine, original, and varied films.