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Vittorio De Sica

Vittorio De Sica Italian film director

Italian film director
Vittorio De Sica
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Italian film director
A.K.A. Vittorio de Sica
Was Actor Film director Screenwriter Stage actor Film actor
From Italy
Type Film, Television, Stage and Radio
Gender male
Birth 7 July 1901, Sora, Lazio
Death 13 November 1974, Neuilly-sur-Seine (aged 73 years)
Star sign CancerCancer
Family
Spouse: Giuditta RissoneMaría Mercader
Children: Christian De SicaManuel De Sica
The details

Biography

Vittorio De Sica (Italian pronunciation: [vitˈtɔːrjo de ˈsiːka]; 7 July 1901 – 13 November 1974) was an Italian director and actor, a leading figure in the neorealist movement.
Four of the films he directed won Academy Awards: Sciuscià and Bicycle Thieves were awarded honorary Oscars, while Ieri, oggi, domani and Il giardino dei Finzi Contini won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Indeed, the great critical success of Sciuscià (the first foreign film to be so recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) and Bicycle Thieves helped establish the permanent Best Foreign Film Oscar. These two films generally are considered part of the canon of classic cinema. Bicycle Thieves was cited by Turner Classic Movies as one of the 15 most influential films in cinema history.
De Sica was also nominated for the 1957 Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for playing Major Rinaldi in American director Charles Vidor's 1957 adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms, a movie that was panned by critics and proved a box office flop. De Sica's acting was considered the highlight of the film.

Life and career

Born into poverty in Sora, Lazio (1901), he began his career as a theatre actor in the early 1920s and joined Tatiana Pavlova's theatre company in 1923. In 1933 he founded his own company with his wife Giuditta Rissone and Sergio Tofano. The company performed mostly light comedies, but they also staged plays by Beaumarchais and worked with famous directors like Luchino Visconti.

His meeting with Cesare Zavattini was a very important event: together they created some of the most celebrated films of the neorealistic age, like Sciuscià (Shoeshine) and Bicycle Thieves (released as The Bicycle Thief in America), both of which De Sica directed.

De Sica appeared in the British television series The Four Just Men (1959).

Private life

His passion for gambling was well known. Because of it, he often lost large sums of money and accepted work that might not otherwise have interested him. He never kept his gambling a secret from anyone; in fact, he projected it on characters in his own movies, like Count Max (which he acted in but did not direct) and The Gold of Naples, as well as in General Della Rovere, a film directed by Rossellini in which De Sica played the title role.

In 1937 Vittorio De Sica married the actress Giuditta Rissone, who gave birth to their daughter, Emi. In 1942, on the set of Un garibaldino al convento, he met Spanish actress Maria Mercader (sister of Ramon Mercader, Leon Trotsky's assassin), with whom he started a relationship. After divorcing Rissone in France in 1954, he married Mercader in 1959 in Mexico, but this union was not considered valid under Italian law. In 1968 he obtained French citizenship and married Mercader in Paris. Meanwhile, he had already had two sons with her: Manuel, in 1949, a musician, and Christian, in 1951, who would follow his father's path as an actor and director.

Although divorced, De Sica never parted from his first family. He led a double family life, with double celebrations on holidays. It is said that, at Christmas and on New Year's Eve, he used to put back the clocks by two hours in Mercader's house so that he could make a toast at midnight with both families. His first wife agreed to keep up the facade of a marriage so as not to leave her daughter without a father.

Vittorio De Sica died at 73 after a surgery at the Neuilly-sur-Seine hospital in Paris. He was a Roman Catholic.

Awards and nominations

Vittorio De Sica was given the Interfilm Grand Prix in 1971 by the Berlin International Film Festival.

  • Miracolo a Milano
    • Cannes Film Festival Palme D'Or Winner
  • Umberto D.
    • Cannes Film Festival Official Selection
  • Stazione Termini
    • Cannes Film Festival Official Selection
  • L'oro di Napoli
    • Cannes Film Festival Official Selection
  • Il Tetto
    • Cannes Film Festival OCIC Award Winner
  • Anna di Brooklyn
    • Berlin International Film Festival Official Selection
  • La Ciociara
    • Cannes Film Festival Official Selection
  • Matrimonio all'italiana
    • Moscow International Film Festival Official Selection
  • Il Giardino dei Finzi-Contini
    • Berlin International Film Festival Golden Bear Winner
    • Berlin International Film Festival Interfilm Award Winner – Otto Dibelius Film Award
  • Nastro d'Argento for Best Director 1946 for Sciuscià
  • Academy Award 1947 Honorary Award to the Italian production for Sciuscià (Shoeshine), 1946
  • Academy Award 1949 Special Foreign Language Film Award for Bicycle Thieves
  • BAFTA (British Academy Award) 1950 Best film Bicycle Thieves
  • Academy Award 1965 Best Foreign Language film for Ieri, oggi, domani (Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow)
  • Academy Award 1972 Best Foreign Language film for Il giardino dei Finzi-Contini

Filmography

Filmography as director

Italian title English title Notes Released
Rose scarlatte N/A Co-director 1940
Maddalena, zero in condotta Maddalena, Zero for Conduct 1940
Teresa Venerdì Do You Like Women, Doctor Beware 1941
Un garibaldino al convento A Garibaldian in the Convent 1942
I bambini ci guardano The Children Are Watching Us, The Little Martyr 1944
La porta del cielo The Gate of Heaven 1945
Sciuscià Shoeshine Academy Award-winner (Special Award); Academy Award nominee, Best Original Screenplay (Sergio Amidei, Adolfo Franci & Cesare Zavattini) 1946
Cuore Heart, Heart and Soul Co-director 1948
Ladri di biciclette Bicycle Thieves, The Bicycle Thief Academy Award-winner (Special Award); Academy Award nominee, Best Writing-Screenplay (Cesare Zavattini) 1948
Miracolo a Milano Miracle in Milan 1951
Umberto D. N/A Academy Award nominee, Best Writing-Story (Cesare Zavattini) 1952
Villa Borghese It Happened in the Park Co-director 1953
Stazione Termini Terminal Station, Station Terminus, Indiscretion of an American Wife 1953
L'oro di Napoli The Gold of Naples 1954
Il Tetto The Roof 1956
Anna di Brooklyn Anna of Brooklyn, Fast and Sexy Co-director 1958
La Ciociara Two Women Academy Award-winner, Best Actress (Sophia Loren) 1961
Il Giudizio universale The Last Judgement 1961
I sequestrati di Altona The Condemned of Altona 1962
Boccaccio '70 N/A Short film – segment La riffa 1962
Il Boom N/A 1963
Ieri, oggi e domani Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow Academy Award-winner, Best Foreign Film 1963
Matrimonio all'italiana Marriage Italian-Style Academy Award-nominee, Best Foreign Film, Best Actress (Sophia Loren) 1964
Un monde nouveau A New World 1966
Caccia alla volpe After the Fox 1966
Sette Volte Donna Woman Times Seven 1967
Le streghe The Witches Short film – segment Sera come le altre, Una 1967
Amanti A Place for Lovers 1968
I Girasoli Sunflower 1970
Il Giardino dei Finzi-Contini The Garden of the Finzi-Continis Academy Award-winner, Best Foreign Film 1970
Le Coppie The Couples Short film – segment Il Leone 1970
Dal referendum alla costituzione: Il 2 giugno From Referendum to the Constitution: 2 June Documentary 1971
I Cavalieri di Malta The Knights of Malta Documentary 1971
Lo chiameremo Andrea We'll Call Him Andrea 1972
Una Breve vacanza A Brief Vacation 1973
Il viaggio The Voyage 1974

Filmography as actor

  • Il processo Clemenceau, by Alfredo De Antoni (1917)
  • La bellezza del mondo, by Mario Almirante (1927)
  • La compagnia dei matti, by Mario Almirante (1928)
  • Due cuori felici, by Baldassarre Negroni (1932)
  • Gli uomini, che mascalzoni!, by Mario Camerini (1932)
  • La vecchia signora, by Amleto Palermi (1932)
  • La segretaria per tutti, by Amleto Palermi (1933)
  • Un cattivo soggetto, by Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia (1933)
  • Paprika by Carl Boese (1933)
  • La canzone del sole, by Max Neufeld (he stars too the German version titles Das lied der sonne) (1934)
  • Lisetta, by Carl Boese (1934)
  • Il signore desidera?, by Gennaro Righelli (1934)
  • Tempo massimo, by Mario Mattoli (1934)
  • Amo te sola, by Mario Mattoli (1935)
  • Darò un milione, by Mario Camerini (1935)
  • Non ti conosco più, by Nunzio Malasomma (1936)
  • Ma non è una cosa seria, by Mario Camerini (1936)
  • Lohengrin, by Nunzio Malasomma (1936)
  • L'uomo che sorride, by Mario Mattoli (1936)
  • Questi ragazzi, by Mario Mattoli (1937)
  • Il signor Max, by Mario Camerini (1937)
  • Naples of Olden Times, by Amleto Palermi (1938)
  • La mazurka di papà, by Oreste Biancoli (1938)
  • Departure, by Amleto Palermi (1938)
  • Il Trionfo dell'amore, by Mario Mattoli (1938)
  • Hanno rapito un uomo, by Gennaro Righelli (1938)
  • L'orologio a cucù, by Camillo Mastrocinque (1938)
  • The Two Mothers, by Amleto Palermi (1938)
  • Castles in the Air,by Augusto Genina (He stars too the German version Ins blaue leben) (1939)
  • Ai vostri ordini, signora!, by Mario Mattoli (1939)
  • Department Store, by Mario Camerini (1939)
  • It Always Ends That Way, by Enrique Telémaco Susini (1939)
  • Red Roses, by Giuseppe Amato and Vittorio De Sica (1940)
  • Manon Lescaut, by Carmine Gallone (1940)
  • Two on a Vacation, by Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia (1940)
  • Maddalena, Zero for Conduct, by Vittorio De Sica (1940)
  • The Sinner, by Amleto Palermi (1940)
  • The Adventuress from the Floor Above, by Raffaello Matarazzo (script too, not credited) (1941)
  • Teresa Venerdì, by Vittorio De Sica (1941)
  • Un garibaldino al convento, by Vittorio De Sica (1942)
  • La guardia del corpo, by Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia (script too) (1942)
  • Se io fossi onesto, by Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia (script too) (1942)
  • I nostri sogni, by Vittorio Cottafavi (script too) (1943)
  • Nessuno torna indietro, by Alessandro Blasetti (1943)
  • L'ippocampo, by Gian Paolo Rosmino (script too, and assistant to director, not credited) (1943)
  • Non sono superstizioso... ma!, by Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia (script too) (1943)
  • Lo sbaglio di essere vivo, by Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia (1945)
  • Il mondo vuole così, by Giorgio Bianchi (1946)
  • Roma città libera, by Marcello Pagliero (1946)
  • Abbasso la ricchezza!, by Gennaro Righelli (story and script too) (1946)
  • Lo Sconosciuto di San Marino, by Michal Waszynski and Vittorio Cottafavi (1947)
  • Cuore, by Duilio Coletti (procucer and script too) (1947)
  • Natale al campo 119, regia di Pietro Francisci (script too and supervision director, not credited) (1947)
  • Sperduti nel buio, by Camillo Mastrocinque (1947)
  • Domani è troppo tardi, by Léonide Moguy (consulting director too, not credited) (1949)
  • Buongiorno, elefante!, by Gianni Franciolini (producer too) (1951)
  • Cameriera bella presenza offresi..., by Giorgio Pàstina (1951)
  • Il processo di Frine, episode of Altri tempi, by Alessandro Blasetti (1952)
  • L'orso, episodio de Il matrimonio, by Antonio Petrucci (1953)
  • Incidente a Villa Borghese, episode of Villa Borghese, by Gianni Franciolini (1953)
  • Il fine dicitore, episode of Gran Varietà, by Domenico Paolella (1953)
  • Pendolin, episode of Cento anni d'amore, by Lionello De Felice (1953)
  • The Earrings of Madame de..., by Max Ophüls (1953)
  • Pane, amore e fantasia, by Luigi Comencini (1953)
  • Peccato che sia una canaglia, by Alessandro Blasetti (1954)
  • Pane, amore e gelosia, by Luigi Comencini (1954)
  • Il divorzio (Le divorce), episode of Il letto (Secrets d'alcove), by Gianni Franciolini (1954)
  • Allegro squadrone, by Paolo Moffa (1954)
  • Vergine moderna, by Marcello Pagliero (1954)
  • Scena all'aperto and Don Corradino, episodes of Tempi nostri, by Alessandro Blasetti (1954)
  • I giocatori, episode of L'oro di Napoli, by Vittorio De Sica (1954)
  • La bella mugnaia, by Mario Camerini (1955)
  • Gli ultimi cinque minuti, by Giuseppe Amato (1955)
  • Il segno di Venere, by Dino Risi (1955)
  • Pane, amore e..., by Dino Risi (1955)
  • Racconti romani, by Gianni Franciolini (1955)
  • Il bigamo, by Luciano Emmer (1955)
  • I giorni più belli, by Mario Mattoli (1955)
  • Mio figlio Nerone, by Steno (1956)
  • I colpevoli, by Turi Vasile (1956)
  • Souvenir d'Italie, by Antonio Pietrangeli (1956)
  • Noi siamo le colonne, by Luigi Filippo D'Amico (1956)
  • Padri e figli, by Mario Monicelli (1956)
  • Tempo di villeggiatura, by Antonio Racioppi (1956)
  • Montecarlo, by Samuel Taylor and Giulio Macchi (director's assistant too) (1956)
  • Casinò de Paris, by André Hunebelle (1957)
  • Pane, amore e Andalusia, by Javier Setó (director's assistant too) (1957)
  • Count Max, by Giorgio Bianchi (1957)
  • La donna che venne dal mare, by Francesco De Robertis (1957)
  • Il medico e lo stregone, by Mario Monicelli (1957)
  • Vacanze a Ischia, by Mario Camerini (1957)
  • Totò, Vittorio e la dottoressa, by Camillo Mastrocinque (1957)
  • A Farewell to Arms (1957), directed by Charles Vidor (Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor)
  • Amore e chiacchiere, by Alessandro Blasetti (1957)
  • Ballerina e buon Dio, by Antonio Leonviola (1958)
  • Gli zitelloni, by Giorgio Bianchi (1958)
  • Pezzo, capopezzo e capitano (it), by Wolfgang Staudte (1958)
  • Anna of Brooklyn, by Reginald Denham and Carlo Lastricati (director's assistant too) (1958)
  • Domenica è sempre domenica, by Camillo Mastrocinque (1958)
  • Uomini e nobiluomini, by Giorgio Bianchi (1958)
  • La ragazza di Piazza San Pietro, by Piero Costa (1958)
  • Nel blu dipinto di blu, by Piero Tellini (1958)
  • Policarpo, ufficiale di scrittura, by Mario Soldati (1958)
  • La prima notte, by Alberto Cavalcanti (1958)
  • Ferdinando I, re di Napoli, by Gianni Franciolini (1959)
  • Gastone, by Mario Bonnard (1959)
  • Il generale della Rovere, by Roberto Rossellini (1959)
  • Il mondo dei miracoli, by Luigi Capuano (1959)
  • Il moralista, by Giorgio Bianchi (1959)
  • Il nemico di mia moglie, by Gianni Puccini (1959)
  • Vacanze d'inverno, by Camillo Mastrocinque (1959)
  • Austerlitz, by Abel Gance (1960)
  • La sposa bella, by Nunnally Johnson and Mario Russo (1960)
  • Le tre eccetera del colonnello, by Claude Boissol (1960)
  • Le pillole di Ercole, by Luciano Salce (1960)
  • Un amore a Roma, by Dino Risi (1960)
  • Il vigile, by Luigi Zampa (1960)
  • It Started in Naples, by Melville Shavelson (1960)
  • The Millionairess, by Anthony Asquith (1960)
  • Gli attendenti, by Giorgio Bianchi (1961)
  • L'onorata società, by Riccardo Pazzaglia (1961)
  • The Wonders of Aladdin, by Mario Bava and Henry Levin (1961)
  • Vive Henri IV, vive l'amour, by Claude Autant-Lara (1961)
  • La Fayette, by Jean Dréville (1961)
  • I due marescialli, by Sergio Corbucci (1961)
  • Gli incensurati, by Francesco Giaculli (1961)
  • Eva, by Joseph Losey and Guidarino Guidi (1962)
  • The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders, by Terence Young (1965)
  • Io, io, io... e gli altri, by Alessandro Blasetti (1966)
  • Gli altri, gli altri e noi, by Maurizio Arena (1966)
  • Un italiano in America, by Alberto Sordi (1967)
  • The Biggest Bundle of Them All, by Ken Annakin (1968)
  • Caroline chérie (fr), by Denys de la Patellière (1968)
  • The Shoes of the Fisherman, by Michael Anderson (1968)
  • If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium, by Mel Stuart (1969)
  • The Thirteen Chairs, by Nicolas Gessner and Luciano Lucignani (1969)
  • Cose di Cosa Nostra, by Steno (1970)
  • Trastevere, by Fausto Tozzi (1971)
  • Io non-vedo, tu non-parli, lui non-sente, by Mario Camerini (1971)
  • L'odeur des fauves,by Richard Balducci (1972)
  • Siamo tutti in libertà provvisoria, by Manlio Scarpelli (1972)
  • Snow Job, by George Englund (1972)
  • Le avventure di Pinocchio, by Luigi Comencini (both Film and TV versions) (1972)
  • Ettore lo fusto, by Enzo G. Castellari (1972)
  • The Small Miracle, TV movie, by Jeannot Szwarc (1973)
  • Storia de fratelli e de cortelli, by Mario Amendola (1973)
  • Il delitto Matteotti, by Florestano Vancini (1973)
  • Viaggia, ragazza, viaggia, hai la musica nelle vene, by Pasquale Squitieri (1973)
  • Blood for Dracula, by Paul Morrissey and Antonio Margheriti (1974)
  • C'eravamo tanto amati, by Ettore Scola (1974)
  • Intorno, short film directed by Manuel De Sica (1974)
  • L'eroe, TV movie, by Manuel De Sica (1974)

Note: on many sources, Fontana di Trevi by Carlo Campogalliani (1960) and La bonne soupe by Robert Thomas (1964) are included but de Sica does not appear in those films.

Television appearances as actor

  • The Four Just Men, by Sapphire Films (1959) (10 of the 39 episodes made)

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