Vittorio De Sica


  1. Achille Majeroni, I Vitelloni, Italy-France, 1953.    For only the third of his 25 screen works, Federico Fellini was rejecting such stars as Walter Chiari, Alberto Sordi and Raf Vallone while chasing the actor-director for Sergio Natali.   Fellini was greatly moved when he  met De Sica, while he was helming Stazione Termini(Indiscretion of an American Wife) with Jennifer Jones.  And more so when De Sica told him: “It’s a wonderful character. Make a date with my lawyer. We’ll talk again.” They never did. Or not that year.  Legend insists that De Sica fretted that playing a gay actor would give people the wrong idea about him. Well, he shouldn’t have been so, er, theatrical, in his parochial comedies.
  2. Rosanno Brazzi, Summertime, 1954.  When considering Olivia Der Havilland as the Ohio tourist funding romance in Venice,  producer Ilya Lopert first toyed with the idea of the celebrated Italian actor-director as the obj3ct of Ms Ohio’s palpitations. She became another of Katharine Hepburn’s spinsters for all reasons – and she made sure Brazzi shared her top-billing. (In smaller letters, of course!) And he became Hollywoood’s latest Latin lover. At 41.  De Sica was 53.
  3. Bernard Blier, L’homme à l’imperéable (US: The Man in the Raincoat), France-Italy, 1957.    Julien Duvivier directed from a scenario by Rene Barjavel – who also scripted a previous Duvivier-Fernandel film, Le Petit Monde de Don Camillo, 1952. That was a global triumph; this was not… even though Blier blew “Fernande” off the screen!
  4. Rossano Brazzi, South Pacific, 1957.    Broadway’s Emile De Becque – Ezio Pinza – died that year and stage-screen director Joshua Logan wanted Fernando Lamas to take over. However, he was committed to his own Broadway show, Happy Hunting. De Sica,  Charles Boyer and Howard Keel also tested. Brazzi’s singing came from, as the credits put it, “The Voice of Giorgio Tozzi.”
  5. Zoltán Latinovits, Szindbád. Hungary, 1971.    Budapest auteur Zoltán Huszárik wanted the Italian director (and hammy actor) for the titular Sinbad,anold man recalling all the women inn his lusty youth.  Not only was De Sica’s price was too high – he also insisted that his son, Manuel,supply the score. (He had already composed the first six of his 93 scores including one for his father’s celebrated Il giardino dei Finzi Contini/The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, 1970). Szindbád remains much loved in Hungary, forevertopping critics’ and magazine polls.
  6. Peter Bull, The Tempest,   1979.   The great UK director Michael Powell invited fellow film-maker to be  the King of Naples – but De Sica died in November 1974 before the scenario was completed. And that was the end of Powell’s 25 year obsession  about filming the Shakespeare play.  According to  Dominic Nolan in The Greatest Movies You’ll Never See book, Derek Jarman felt he’d inherited Powell’s dream. Hah! He made it a (typically) homoerotic job of it  in 1979. “Funny,” said New York Times critic Vincent Canby, “if it weren’t very nearly unbearable. ”




 Birth year: 1900Death year: 1974Other name: Casting Calls:  6