Gabriele Ferzetti our Italian movie star

““- Giulia: Cosa devo fare per essere lasciata in pace? – Claudia: Credo che basti chiudere la porta, Giulia.” (from L’avventura”)

Gabriele Ferzetti

Gabriele Ferzetti belonged to the golden age of the world of International filmaking, the last one of a wonderful generation of famous Italian movie stars, such as Gassman, Mastroianni, Sordi, Tognazzi, Manfredi.

Elegant, urban and well-spoken, Gabriele Ferzetti was a versatile actor and one of Italy’s most prominent international stars of the 1950’s and 60’s.   But he was different from any other actors of his time,  may be not as  “fashionable” as his colleagues, but of an unmatchable class.  And a seducer. A charming gentleman, a little shy and introvert , who kept away from the footlights and the paparazzi.

Over seven decades he played a multitude of different film roles in every known genre and category and just about the only constant in his long career was that he was always incredibly handsome and charismatic without being showy. Masterfully capabale to play the role of the contemporary man as nobody else better than him.

He acted in over 100 movies, he alternated the big screen to the theatre. His passion for the stage begun very early when he started performing in university plays and lasted all his long life.

Gabriele Ferzetti died at the age of 90 and had been acting until just a few years before.

His first prominent acting leading role, co-star with Gina Lollobrigida,  came in the comedy The Wayward Wife (1953) directed by Mario Soldati.  And for this role he won an award from the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists and with it he established his reputation as a major romantic star.

And then came also the perfect role for him, the seducer par excellence Giacomo Casanova (1955) directed by Steno.

In his long career he had many challenging roles : He played in Puccini (1953), in Michelangelo Antonioni‘s Le Amiche (1955) and was unforgettable as the weak, handsome, upper-class antihero in L’Avventura (1960) again directed by Michelangelo Antonioni, and for it he won the Festival Jury Prize and went on to compete over several decades for the No 1 spot on international critics’ lists of the 10 best films of all time.

By the early 60’s, Ferzetti’s distinguished features had him frequently cast in provocative political dramas as flawed men hiding behind charming, sophisticated facades.

He also acquired an international following with character roles in Torpedo Bay (1963),

I Spy (1965), in Liliana Cavani’s 1974 film The Night Porter, he was starring with Dirk Bogarde and Charlotte Rampling.

He had more than 160 credits to his name across film, television and stage.

He won a Silver Ribbon for best Supporting Actor in Elio Petri’s ‘A ciascuno il suo’ ( 1967 ) and another Silver Ribbon for his role in  La provinciale ( 1953 )

Ferzetti’s Hollywood roles included that of Lot in John Huston’s biblical epic The Bible: In The Beginning,  (1966), though his most memorable appearance was in Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) as a superb Morton, the railway baron on crutches, an evil and unscrupulous railroad magnate who hires a sadistic killer (Henry Fonda) to get the deeds to a piece of land which stands in the way of his planned railroad , and as James Bond’s father-in-law, Marc Ange-Draco, the sophisticated, organised and powerful crime boss in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969). Ferzetti’s character Marc Ange-Draco, the father of Tracy (Diana Rigg), the only Bond girl who gets to marry the hero, was given one of the best lines in the film: “My apologies for the way you were brought here. I wasn’t sure you’d accept a formal invitation,” to which Bond replies “There’s always something formal about the point of a pistol”.


From Style Icon :: by Cinzia Azzerboni