Friday, November 12, 2010

Dino De Laurentiis R.I.P.

Movie producer Dino De Laurentiis passed on November 11, 2010 at the age of 91.

Dino De Laurentiis was born on August 8, 1919 in Torre Annunziata, Campania, Italy. The first film he produced was L'Amore Canta in 1941. During World War II he produced no films, but following the war he began movie production again with Aquila Nera (1946). It was early in his career that he began producing movies that would be part of the Italian New Wave, including Riso amaro (1949), Europa '51 (1952), Fellini's La Strada (1954), and Fellini's Le notti di Cabria (1957). Even early career as a producer, Mr. De Laurentiis' output could be diverse. While producing Italian neorealist films, he also produced comedies featuring Toto (Totò terzo uomo in 1951 and Totò a colori in 1952), as well as sword and sandal epics such as Ulysses (1954) and Attila (1954). Later in the Fifties Mr. De Laurentiis would expand into English language films, including an adaptation of War and Peace (1956) and This Angry Age (1958).

The Sixties would see Dino De Laurentiis continue to produce a variety of films. He produced such sword and sandal films as Maciste contro il vampiro (1961), Barabbas (1961), Le pillole di Ercole (1962).  He also continued to produce comedies, including The Fascist (1961), Il re di Poggioreale (1961), and Il diavolo (1963). He also produced spy and sci-fi films such as Kiss the Girls and Make Them Die (1966), Danger: Diabolik (1968), and Barbarella (1968). In the Seventies Dino De Laurentiis moved away from Italian language films and more into English language films. He produced the films Serpico (1973), Tough Guys (1974), Death Wish (1974), Mandingo (1975), Three Days of the Condor (1976), the ill fated and ill advised remake of King Kong (1976), The Brinks Job (1978), and the cult classic Flash Gordon (1980).

In the Eighties Dino De Laurentiis; output slowed, but he still produced several films,  including Ragtime (1981),  Conan the Barbarian (1982), The Dead Zone (1983), Dune (1984), Manhunter (1986-the first film to feature Hannibal Lecter), and King Kong Lives (1986). From the Nineties Mr. De Laurentiis produced such films as Army of Darkness (1992), U-571 (2000), Red Dragon (2002), and The Last Legion (2007).

Unlike many producers, Dino De Laurentiis produced a diverse number of films. He produced everything from neorealist classics (La Strada) to high camp (Barbarella). He also had his share of flops (Hurricane in 1979). He also produced films for which the critics lost no love (the most obvious example being his remake of King Kong). Regardless, he produced an extraordinarily large number of films, many of which are regarded as classics today.

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