Gabriele Ferzetti - Biography - Career - 1960s

1960s

In 1960, Ferzetti starred in Gianni Puccini's Il carro armato dell'8 settembre followed by Florestano Vancini's La lunga notte del '43. The film was set during the Allied invasion of Italy in 1943 during the Second World War and saw Ferzetti feature alongside Belinda Lee and Enrico Maria Salerno. It was a considerable success at the Venice Film Festival and was nominated for a Goldon Lion Award. Later in 1960, Ferzetti made his international breakthrough as an oversexed, restless playboy Sandro in Michelangelo Antonioni's controversial L'avventura. Starring alongside Lea Massari and Monica Vitti romantically, his role was critically acclaimed and was a role he is most associated with in publications on cinema. Liz-Anne Bawden of The Oxford Companion to Film said, "The acting is excellent. Gabriele Ferzetti repeats and develops his role from Le amiche of the inadequate male/artist".

In 1962, Ferzetti had one of the busy years of his career, featuring in 7 films. Notably he featured in Il giorno più corto, directed by Sergio Corbucci, in Giuseppe Bennati's Congo vivo alongside Jean Seberg, in Jean Negulesco's American picture Jessica opposite Maurice Chevalier, Angie Dickinson and Noël-Noël in Il delitto non paga under director Gérard Oury. In 1963, Ferzetti he had a role in a large ensemble cast in Jean Delannoy's Venere imperiale and played the charatcer of Leonardi in Charles Frend and Bruno Vailati's war drama Beta Som alongside Lilli Palmer, James Mason and Alberto Lupo. In 1964, his only notable performance was in Luis Lucia's musical comedy Crucero de verano alongside Carmen Sevilla, Marisa Merlini and José Alfayate. In 1965, Ferzetti starred in Lo scippo, alongside Paolo Ferrari and played the role of Vic Dermatt in Jacques Deray's French crime drama Par un beau matin d'été alongside Jean-Paul Belmondo, Sophie Daumier and Geraldine Chaplin. He also had a role in Marcel Carné's Three Rooms in Manhattan, a film which incidentally featured a young Robert De Niro in an uncredited role.

1966 was a particularly important year for Ferzetti in the American market. He starred as Lot in John Huston's biblical epic The Bible: In the Beginning, based on the book of Book of Genesis opposite Michael Parks (Adam), Ulla Bergryd (Eve), Richard Harris (Cain), Franco Nero (Abel) and Huston himself as Noah, the narrator, the serpent, and God. He also made his television debut by appearing in two episodes of the spy series I Spy. In 1967, Ferzetti starred in We Still Kill the Old Way under director Elio Petri and the TV series Dossier Mata Hari. In 1968, Ferzetti experienced the most prolific year in his career, featuring in a total of 8 films. These include Marcello Fondato's I protagonisti, Salvatore Samperi's Grazie zia, José María Forqué's Un diablo bajo la almohada, Roberto Faenza's Escalation, Alberto De Martino's Roma come Chicago and Sergio Leone's western epic Once Upon a Time in the West in which he played Morton, the railroad baron, opposite acclaimed actors Henry Fonda and Charles Bronson.

In 1969, Ferzetti starred in Giuliano Montaldo's crime film Gli intoccabili. He starred opposite John Cassavetes, Britt Ekland and Peter Falk and the film was entered into the 1969 Cannes Film Festival. He next starred in Un bellissimo novembre, directed by Mauro Bolognini. The film, based on a novel by Ercole Patti (it), united Ferzetti and Gina Lollobrigida once again in the leading roles. Ferzetti's most important performance in 1969, and arguably the role he is most associated with internationally throughout his career was his role as distinguished organized crime boss Marc-Ange Draco in the 1969 James Bond feature On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Directed by Peter Hunt, Ferzetti plays the father of Tracy di Vicenzo (played by English actress Diana Rigg) who promises James Bond (George Lazenby) a handsome dowry for marrying her; they fall in love and marry anyway. Hunt had spotted Ferzetti in an Italian film which he and Harry Saltzman were supposed to be reviewing another actor in and both were immediately drawn to Ferzetti and persuaded the producers to test Ferzetti. However, despite speaking good English, his lines were dubbed by British actor David de Keyser due to Ferzetti's strong Italian accent. In the end of the film, his character Draco's resources are vital to aiding Bond to destroy Ernst Stavro Blofeld's base at Piz Gloria. His final release of 1969 was L'amica, directed by Alberto Lattuada.

Read more about this topic:  Gabriele Ferzetti, Biography, Career

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