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Rome

Treccani adds Sordi to Italian biographical dictionary

Anecdotes and revelations in Roman actor's entry in 93rd volume

Treccani adds Sordi to Italian biographical dictionary

Rome, January 18 - The Treccani Italian Encyclopedia Institute has added famed late Roman actor Alberto Sordi to the 93rd volume of its Biographical Dictionary of Italians, a project that began in 1960 and is still incomplete. Sordi's entry, curated by film critic and film historian Alberto Crespi, is included in the just-published volume, which runs from Pope Sixtus V to 20th-century politician and banker Gaetano Stammati. The chapter devoted to the actor reviews his career in theatre, radio, dubbing, and cinema, along with a host of interesting anecdotes and curious facts. One example touches on Sordi's first two films - Mamma mia che impressione! and The White Sheik - both of which were colossal flops, in recalling how Sordi once said in an interview that the films were such flops that people thought even mentioning them would bring bad luck. The encyclopedia entry tells the story of how, despite these flops, great director Federico Fellini wanted Sordi at all costs in his 1953 film I Vitelloni. However, the director had to accept the fact that Sordi's name wouldn't appear on the posters, to prevent movie goers from avoiding the film. The entry also recalls that a debate still rages today among film critics and fans over the real name of Sordi's character in one of his most iconic films, An American in Rome. The character's first name, Nando, isn't up for debate, but the character's last name is often pronounced in subtly different ways during the film, resulting in speculation over whether it is actually Mericoni, Meliconi, or even Moriconi. Sordi was born in the Trastevere neighbourhood of Rome on June 15, 1920, and starred in a long list of successful films with various directors, including Dino Risi, Giorgio Bianchi, Mario Monicelli, Vittorio De Sica, Elio Petri, and Luigi Filippo D'Amico. Crespi said there were years in which "nearly all films were written for him". "The scripts for both Dino Risi films Il Sorpasso and I Mostri were made for him, and the fortunate thing for the other 'colonels' of comedy (Vittorio Gassman, Ugo Tognazzi, Nino Manfredi) was that Sordi had slowed down (in 1954 alone he starred in 12 films) and he couldn't, nor did he want to, make all the films that were offered to him," Crespi said.

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