Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Manuel Zarzo, a face of the Italian cinema of the Sixties

Passion Cinema

By Angelo D'Ambra

March 21, 2022


It is right that many excellent actors do not end up in oblivion and Manuel Zarzo certainly deserves to be among them.

His career was studded with minor roles which, however, gave him great prestige and allowed him to show his interpretative qualities by appearing in all genres, from comedy - such as "L'emigrante" by Pasquale Festa Campanile, with Celentano and Claudia Mori, or "Dramma della jealousy" by Ettore Scola, with Mastroianni, Monica Vitti and Giancarlo Giannini, - in adventure cinema – as “L’arciere di fuoco” by Giorgio Ferroni, with Giuliano Gemma, Mario Adorf and Silvia Dionisio - up to the thriller of “The two faces of fear” by the Argentine Tulio Demicheli and in the historical cinema of “I due volti della paura” by Roberto Mauri.

From a very young age Manuel, often referred to as Manolo, worked together with his sister Pepita in various traveling theater companies. He was part of Los Chavales de España, a company with which he embarked on several successful tours. In 1951, the director Antonio del Amo made him debut in front of the camera in the film "Día tras día", but he did not find immediate support, so he returned to devote himself to the theater with occasional parts in films until the Sixties, when he found his road in Italian genre cinema.

There were many westerns in which he took part. In 1964 he was Nelson Masters in "Bullet in the Flesh" by Marino Girolami. The following year he participated in "The Sheriff Won’t Shoot", an Italian-Spanish western by Jose Luis Monter and Renato Polselli. In 1966 he was Franco Giraldi's “7 Pistols for the MacGregors”, a film in which he played David MacGregor, alongside Robert Woods, Nazzareno Zamperla, Alberto Dell'Acqua and Fernando Sancho. In 1968 he played Heraclio in Mario Caiano's “A Train to Durango”, with Anthony Steffen. In 1969 he took part in Tonino Valerii's “The Price of Power” with Giuliano Gemma, Maria Cuadra and Fernando Rey. Finally, in 1974, "Patience Has a Limit ... We Don't!", A comedy western by Franco Ciferri.

We also remember him in "Cipolla Colt" with Franco Nero, in "The Legend of Frenchie King" by Christian-Jaque, starring Brigitte Bardot and Claudia Cardinale, and in "The Bounty Killer" by Eugenio Martin, with Tomas Milian.

He also appeared in several Spanish TV series where he had good success, no less important his roles in the native cinema, worthy of note the interpretation of Corporal Perrin in "317th Assault Battalion" by Frenchman Pierre Schoendoerffer. In one of his last participations, he played a mad scientist for Umberto Lenzi, in the horror “Incubo sulla città contaminata” (Nightmare in the Contaminated City).


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