Wednesday, February 7, 2024

America pays tribute to director Sergio Martino


February 4, 2024

Sergio Martino, who recently turned 85, is an Italian director, actor and screenwriter. Nephew of director Gennaro Righelli, brother of producer Luciano Martino, he is one of the greatest Italian exponents of so-called genre cinema, ranging from westerns to sexy comedies.

In 2017 he published his autobiography entitled: A Thousand Sins... no virtue?, while in 2019 a documentary was made about his career directed by Daniele Ceccarini and Francesco Tassara. He made his debut as a screenwriter with the western "For 100,000 Dollars I'll Kill You" by Sidney Lean and as a director with the sexy-documentary "A Thousand Sins, No Virtues" (1968). Sergio Martino is one of the most prolific Italian directors with many films to his credit in the golden years of Italian cinema. Sergio Martino, the director that Quentin Tarantino stated as one of his inspirational teachers in the 2004 Venice retrospective dedicated to Italian genre cinema. Martino who, together with Castellari, Di Leo, Lenzi, Margheriti, Sollima and many others, was unwelcome to a certain group of local critics, the same ones who did not appreciate the great Totò and who denied praise to Fellini's "La strada", considered a true masterpiece by the French and Americans. His cinema may not have been liked by critics, but it was acclaimed by the public. In Italy he is best known for films such as "The Coach in the Ball" (with Lino Banfi), "Cornetti alla crema" (with Lino Banfi and Edwige Fenech) and many other comedy films. Known and appreciated abroad mainly for his thrillers, detective stories and action films. Among his most famous films: "Milano trema: la polizia vuole giustizia"; "La polizia accusa: il servizio segreto uccide"; "Morte sospetta di una minorenne"; "La coda dello scorpione” (The Scorpion's Tail); "Il tuo vizio è una stanza chiusa e solo io ne ho la chiave"; "Mrs. Wardh's Strange Vice"; "All the Colors of the Dark" and many others. His greatest success is, without a doubt, "Torso", filmed in 1973, also known as "I corpi presentano tracce di violenza carnale", Quentin Tarantino's most beloved Italian thriller. In January, Sergio Martino, invited to America, was literally acclaimed by a huge crowd of fans and welcomed, as befits a great cinematographer, in Los Angeles and Chicago. He received many awards, in particular for the 1973 film "Torso", screened in Chicago in his presence. A film written together with the legendary screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi and, certainly, his most appreciated work abroad. The director also wanted to publicly thank the legendary Eugenio Alabiso, editor of most of his films. A truly exhilarating experience for Sergio Martino, who wanted to comment on his friends from the "Camposecco Far West" group who follow him with passion: "What did not happen in Italy, at the time of theatrical programming, in the judgments of critics, was already happening in other countries of the world. Now, even in Italy, it is discovered that that Italian cinema exported all over the world was not and is not so bad, thanks to the discovery of today's generations of that cinema that filled the theaters but was mistreated by critics. Fortunately, today there is this new acceptance of those films, thanks to the many young people who are rediscovering it. It's never too late!" A great director, an Italian pride also praised abroad, a man who still shows a great passion for cinema that he has helped to enrich with many masterpieces. Recently the director was awarded with a plaque by the group "Camposecco Far West", in the presence of the editor Eugenio Alabiso. In the photo Sergio Martino is with Eugenio Alabiso and Francesco Romano (Camposecco Far West). Anna Consales.

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