October 7, 2022

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100 years ago Tognazzi was born: Ugo, no one and a hundred thousand

A hundred years ago, on March 23, 1922, Ugo Tognaz was bornThe. Actor, director and comedian Tognazzi was one of the heroes of the golden age of Italian comedy along with Alberto Sordi, Vittorio Gassman, Nino Manfredi, Marcello Mastroianni, Monica Vitti and Mariangela Melato.

A great actor for so many different things he accomplished while always staying true to himself. Unmistakable but able to escape the ratings, multifaceted in an age where without an identity you go nowhere. A hard-built craftsman, a soldier promoted to colonel in the field, from theater tables to television studios to the collections of great authors, he exploded when he reached full expressive maturity and complete mastery of his means.

To talk about Ugo before Tognazzi, we need to start with the show and the magazine. But above all, it is the six versions of the cult (missing) TV “Un due tre” paired with Raimondo Vianello that make him popular with the general public. In parallel, throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, there was an endless film gallery of posters and stains: at least to mention the sticky director of “The Enemy Enemy” (where there is even Buster Keaton), the fearsome bourgeoisie on Sunday is always the day Sunday ”, a shoulder dedicated in “Totò nella Luna” and alongside Tina Pica in half a dozen farce, fessacchiotto in “Let’s not lose our head”, even spelling “We love it cool …! who announced the defining turning point of his career: Il Federal’s unforgettable performance, in which he proves he knows how to measure humor at the height of the complexity of drama.

With devotion on the supreme journey, Tognazzi invests everything in his image quite differently from the images of other Italian comedian colonels.: the only northern man to truly assert himself in Roman-centric cinema, he taps into unleashed theatrical acting and seemingly immeasurable mood, a taste for daring and interruption as a state of mind, a lack of physique and a sulfur charm. A mix that explodes instantly in Monsters, as he manages to go from respected Christian Democrat moralist to dark-skinned cop to cynical organizer of boxing matches. The versatility that comes in handy in New Beasts revivals but also in other shocking rehearsals: how could this same actor be the year struggling with awakening Good Night Ladies and Gentlemen, the greedy spinster of El Cat or the Count Mascetti rotten and thus icy or acting masterpiece, “my friends”?

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When we talk about our cinema’s great partnerships, we always think of Fellini/Mastroianni but often forget the relationship between Marco Ferreri and Tognazzi. Who, in Italy about the economic miracle, takes pleasure in telling with merciless acidity about the hypocrisy and insignificance of a fanatic, savage society. Shocking and reckless anthology: the husband consumed by the Queen Bee’s death, the cruel exploiter of the “Monkey Woman”, the perverted professor in the episode “Controziso”, the man married to a doll in the “Wedding March”, the mysterious commissioner of “L’udienza”, the chef who devours himself to death with ‘The Big Party’, the citizen who won in ‘Don’t Touch the White Woman.’ Ferreri then suggested him a role in ‘Hello male’, Tognazzi gave him the pit a few days after shooting but he hoped to be convinced by the director But in the end he called Mastroianni: and so the relationship was cut off forever.

Few as Tognazi relate the effect of love on the life of the bourgeoisie, the physical consequences of the romantic upheavals that overwhelm everyday life, the joy of understanding and the sadness of abandonment. From ‘crazy desire’ to ‘first love’ through to the ‘folk novel’, always with a fluid look and a shadow drawn on the face, our feelings are exhausted under the shadow of impossible love in a poignant awareness of the inability to enjoy lost youth. He specializes in bending tested relationships in a humorous fashion, in perfect harmony with partners: the future husband of ‘The Hours of Love’, the double of ‘Amoral’ (which earned him a Golden Globe nomination), the husband of ‘This Kind of love”, the person who is looking for new feelings for “lonely hearts”.

But Ugo is above all a living body, one subjected to sexual tension, ready to succumb to the enchanting charms of a woman or to be himself an object of desire. It is interesting to emphasize that sex – as exercise, attention, obsession, repression – is an essential component of his characters: the absolute seducer of ‘Liolà’, the jealous industrialist of ‘The Magnificent Cuckold’, the moral boyar of ‘Complexes’ . ‘, a visiting lawyer for women who is framed by ‘La Bambolona’, the social climber (who ends up climbing) from ‘Come and have a coffee with us’, the industrialist who is overwhelmed with the passion of ‘La Califfa’, the treacherous husband and traitor of the ‘orange duck’, The unemployed and cheerful lawyer in the “Bishop’s Room,” the fifty-year-old girl scattered by feminism in “Where Are You Going on Vacation?”. Not to forget “Commissioner Pepe” who investigates the private vices and public virtues of the fanatical county.

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Among all the giants of his generation, Tognazzi has been the most open to the possibility of roles outside the box, especially in terms of representing homosexual characters, at that time turned into unpleasant spots. In the archetype of “Splendori e miserie di Madame Royale”, he is a dancer and framer who at night becomes a drag queen and resides in the living room of the travesti. There is certainly a caricature inclination, but the empathy that the actor invests in giving body and soul to a loser on the fringes of society is unquestioned. Less tragic is the image of the mature, middle-aged businessman – and marital crisis – in the anti-bourgeois cult ‘Il vizietto’, a wild and popular comedy that achieved worldwide success and even went to the Academy Awards.

Tognazzi touches on politics, acknowledges the changes in society, and interprets the changes in light of peasant distrust combined with Lombard skepticism. If the “Federal” had to collide with death to turn away from fascism, the squadron of the “March to Rome” is immediately disappointed by the failure of the black-shirt revolution. Its political dimension is not completely exposed but rather karst: the totem is the avatar of Luciano Biancardi in the essential “La Vita Agra”, Evolution is the upright judge of “in the name of the Italian people”, the distortion is the absurd coup d’état of a leader who says “We want the Colonel”. And also elsewhere far from Italy: the anarchist writer of “The Maestro e Margherita”, the opponent of the Greek order in “La smagliatura”.

Another actor that makes Tognazzi unique compared to the other colonels of Italian comedies is the desire to “settle” for a few positions as a supporting actor. A work of superior intelligence: a film as memorable in itself as “I Knew Her Well” thanks to the appearance of Bagini, a failed comedian ready to endure any humiliation (one of the most devastating scenes in and in Italian cinema). He made his mark in the role of stupid tailor by honoring Marxists in ‘Straziami but satimi kisses’, replacing Toto as the anarchist in ‘Father of the Family’, and acts to cast as a useless cardinal in ‘In the Year of the Lord, avenging Fellini who lured him from Mastorna was ordered and then abandoned with “Satyricon” in the face of the blockbuster movie. And he accepts offers of authors that are perhaps far from him: the diabolical Nazi Purcell, the filthy butcher of “Property No Longer Stealing”, the shady-humped “white-telephone” smuggler, insuring the two sisters. The circle in Kasuto, the communist barber at Nene.

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Like other Italian comics heroes, Tognazzi also turned into directing; Unlike his colleagues’ work, his films are downright unsettling and express an eccentric profile, a bold aesthetic, and a willingness to tell non-conforming stories of Kafka’s taste. From the first “improved” work in which it depicts a weak and naive male, through to the Buzzatian nightmare “Whistle of the Nose” and the popular hallucination of “Sissignore” in 1968. To the erotic obsessions of “bad ideas” and the “dystopia” of the apocalyptic “Evening Travelers”.

Sad, solitary and definitive, the end of the night soon arrives in Tognazzi, bent on meticulously dyeing his hair in “La Terrazza,” as he floats in the drama of a neglected and outdated producer by his wife. It’s key to a decade opened by The bersaglieri arrival, in which he plays a Roman version of Prince Salina, sealed with the horrific image of ‘The Tragedy of a Silly Man’ that earned him the character of Palma d. Went in Cannes. It’s the bitter knot of Tognazzi, mortally wounded who are just waiting for the end of the pain: the politician betrayed by his wife in ‘Scherzo del fate’, the outrageous playmaker in ‘Il Petomane’, the twilight sports director of ‘Last Minute’, the frustrated detective in the ‘Days of Commissioner Ambrosio’ “. Old men addicted to them to break in without warning. (Adnkronos / Cinematografo.it)