GREAT CINEMATOGRAPHERS


#1: From documentary [2005]

#2: From documentary [2005]

#3: [Left] with dir Federico Fellini

 

   


TONINO DELLI COLLI

 

Born: 20 November 1923, Rome, Italy, as Antonio Delli Colli.

Died: 16 August 2005, Rome, Italy.

Career: 'After I attended junior high school my father told me to go to work for financial reasons and also because I wasn't very studious. That was during the mid-1930s. A secretary in the film development and printing laboratory, where my father was working, was hired at Cinecittà Studios, which opened in 1937. I went to work there barely a year later with that woman's help. I was about 16 years old, and I knew absolutely nothing about filmmaking. They asked me whether I wanted to work in the sound department or with the cameramen. I said with the cameramen even though I didn't know anything about what that meant.' […] 'I was working before the war as an assistant to Mario Albertelli. I worked with him for about three years. Albertelli was suffering from an ulcer, and he often let me do what I wanted. He gave the instructions, and I did the preparatory work and went forward with it. He shot the scenes and made the corrections. That's how I learned. I wasn't the boss, but I can't deny that at a certain point I was upset when he changed things. After the war was over, working as a camera operator was more like play than work for young assistants like me. I worked as a camera operator for major cinematographers, including Ubaldo Arata and Anchise Brizzi.' He was under contract to shoot five films a year for prod Carlo Ponti and Dino De Laurentiis during the early 1950s. That's how he happened to shoot 'Totò a colori', Italy's first color film in 1952. 'I was doing a lot of work with Italian-American productions and earning a good living, but I realized that other young cinematographers were making names for themselves by working with talented new directors like Antonioni and Germi. I realized that I was losing unique opportunities to work with emerging directors in the new style of cinematography that was being developed during those years. I was working in Africa on the American film 'The Wonders of Aladdin' when (production designer) Flavio Mogherini told me that Alfredo Bini had contacted him for a new project directed by Pasolini. I asked him to mention my name to Bini. Mogherini said I was too expensive, so I asked him to tell Bini to pay me whatever he could. I believe that was fate, because that day completely changed my career.' […] 'Sergio Leone came to Spain, where I was making a film called 'El verdugo'. It was 1963, and he was looking for money from our producer, who in turn was being financed by a pharmaceutical company. There wasn't a cent to be had, so I said, "When we get back, I'll give you a call and we'll see if I can help you find someone." After a lot of looking, I found two producers, Papi and Colombo, and persuaded them to finance his film. I didn't make that film, because I couldn't work for nothing. One day, when I was still working on 'Le soldatesse', Sergio's assistant came over to the set and he told me that crowds were tearing down the Supercinema in Rome to get in to see Sergio's film. 'A Fistful of Dollars' was an unexpected hit.' […] 'He was a meticulous artist, who paid attention to everything he did, right down to the smallest details. He wanted me to light long shots so the audience could see details on screens of all sizes. He wanted them to see individual hairs in each character's beard as well as their eyes. That's one reason why his three-hour films passed quickly for the audience.' [From interview by Giosue Gallotti on the ASC website.]

Was a member of the AIC.

Appeared in the doc 'Il piccolo GRANDE ARTISTA' [2005, Adolfo Bartoli].

Awards: 'David di Donatello' Award [1982] for 'Storie di ordinaria follia'; BAFTA Film Award nom [1985] for 'Once Upon a Time in America'; 'David di Donatello' Award [1987] for 'Der Name der Rose'; 'David di Donatello' Award [1997] for 'Marianna Ucrìa'; 'David di Donatello' Award [1998] for 'La vita è bella/Life Is Beautiful'; 6x 'Silver Ribbon' Award from the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists; ASC International Award [2004].



[Right] with dir Sergio Leone

 

Tonino Delli Colli: 'Cinema has certainly changed, but I remain anchored in what you might call the 'old cinema', that of 30 or 40 years ago, the so-called 'cinema d'auteur'. Now there are various authors. Once there was the person who wrote the story, the director and the cinematographer who told the story in images - and it was a privilege to be able to be part of an auteur film. Nowadays other factors come into play during post-production, which can somewhat falsify the author's original idea; consequently a film becomes the work of more than one author. Cinema has changed in this sense.

I can't relate to the new digital filming systems, or rather I have no desire to learn these new techniques even though everything is changing and the evolution of technologies will make filmmaking even more immediate. The new technologies interfere with the author's work. The special effects we used to create have nothing to do with those of today. Federico Fellini didn't want to know about special effects; he always used to say to me: 'If we can create the effects ourselves, with what we have, it's OK by me, but if someone else has to intervene it's not OK by me'. From this I understood that Fellini didn't want anyone interfering with his work during post-production and altering the way he had conceived it. I remember that the most we would do was place painted glass in front of the camera, that we matched with the real scene. It was pure invention. The argument concerning modern technologies is also valid for the 'rushes': I prefer to watch them on film in a screening theatre, even if I don't print them all. I need to see the effect in the theatre to understand what corrections I have to make or how I should proceed with shooting.'

 

#1: [Bottom] with dir Mario Monicelli [left] - photo by Angelo Pennoni

#2: Pier Paolo Pasolini - prod des Dante Ferretti - T. Delli Colli

 

'Tonino Delli Colli, a self-avowedly "instinctive" practitioner of his craft, holds a crucial position between genre cinema at its most dazzlingly ambitious [in the hands of Sergio Leone] and art cinema as embodied in the intensely innovative and challenging films of Pier Paolo Pasolini.

It is an impossible task to find a visual signature common to Delli Colli's work with Rossellini, Louis Malle, Dino Risi, Bellocchio, or Federico Fellini, and that is without taking into account his strictly generic output - a string of films made with the Italian comic star Totò. And he is indeed the last person to wish such a common denominator to be apparent. His approach is less to impose a common visual style upon a number of disparate projects than to apply an identical strategy. Thus the needs and wishes of the director are identified as precisely as possible and reconciled as closely as possible with the constraints and opportunities offered by a particular location or set. Also to be taken into account are the needs of the performers - whether established stars or nonprofessionals unused to the camera.

Never a cinephile, Delli Colli's fascination has always been with the basic medium of photography - light, and its varying qualities depending on time, weather, geography and the subtle balances required between natural and artificial light.

Working on 'Accattone' with Pasolini signaled a move away from genre cinema, but it was not something which changed his working methods. Delli Colli's response to Pasolini's poetic demands is characteristically phlegmatic. Pasolini, he has said, could write of a "cinquanta" [a kind of lens], but he would not know what to do with one. On 'Accattone' Delli Colli confronted a director innocent of any technical knowledge of film, but with a crystal clear idea of how he wanted the finished film to look. To achieve the film's grainy look, Delli Colli shot on the then rarely-used Ferrania film.

In Sergio Leone he confronted someone whose starting point was also genre cinema but whose demands were, like Pasolini's, in a sense transgressive. Like Pasolini, Leone is concerned about rewriting myths and constructing a kind of prehistoric world. Behind it all is a very different dynamic, rhetorical and romantic and predicated on Leone's obsessive need to extend the dramatic moment far beyond its "natural" duration. Thus Delli Colli was able to bring into play an avidly mobile camera, ritualistically circling and tracking shots, zooms, and large close-ups, all of which tied the viewer into a dramatic space quite other than that of everyday experience.' [From article by Verina Glaessner on the Film Reference website.]


 

 FILMS

1942

Il paese senza pace [o Le baruffe chiozzotte] [Leo Menardi & (uncred) Carlo Lodovici] b&w; released in 1946

1943

Finalmente sì! [László Kish] b&w

1945

O' sole mio [Giacomo Gentilomo] b&w; cph: Anchise Brizzi 

1946

Felicità perduta/Lost Happiness [Filippo Walter Ratti] b&w; cph: Romolo Garroni

1946

Trepidazione [Tony Frenguelli] b&w

1947

La lunga manica [Ugo Mantici] b&w; short/?m

1947

Il quirinale [Ugo Mantici] b&w; short/?m

1948

La città dolente/City of Pain [Mario Bonnard] b&w

1948

L'isola di Montecristo/The Island of Procida [Mario Sequi] b&w

1948

L'esperienza del cubismo [Glauco Pellegrini] b&w; short/11m; or ph Antonio Schiavinotto

1949

Liszt [? Micucci] ?; short/?m

1949

La strada buia [Sidney Salkow & Marino Girolami] b&w

1949

Fugitive Lady [Sidney Salkow & (uncred) Marino Girolami] b&w; English version of 'La strada buia'

1949

Al diavolo la celebrità/Fame and the Devil/A Night of Fame [Mario Monicelli & Steno] b&w; cph: Leonida Barboni

1949

Nerone e Messalina/Nero and the Burning of Rome [Primo Zeglio] b&w; cph: Mario Albertelli; released in 1953

1950

Arte e realtà [Attilio Giovannini & F. Mayer] b&w; short/?m

1950

Alina [Giorgio Pastina] b&w

1950

Il voto [Mario Bonnard] b&w

1950

La rivale dell'imperatrice [Jacopo Comin & Sidney Salkow] b&w; cph: Erwin Hillier; Italian version of 'Shadow of the Eagle' (1950, S. Salkow; ph: Erwin Hillier)

1950

Io sono il capataz/Il nipote di Pancho Villa [Giorgio Simonelli] b&w

1951

Milano miliardaria [Vittorio Metz, Marcello Marchesi & Marino Girolami] b&w

1951

Totò terzo uomo [Mario Mattòli] b&w

1951

Il padrone del vapore [Mario Mattòli] b&w

1951

Accidenti alla tasse!!/Accidents to the Taxes!! [Mario Mattòli] b&w

1951

Era lui... sì!.. sì!/It's Him!.. Yes!.. Yes! [Vittorio Metz, Marcello Marchesi & Marino Girolami] b&w; cph: Vincenzo Seratrice

1952

All'ombre delle fanciulle in fiore [Gian Luigi Rondi] b&w; short/?m

1952

Gli undici moschettieri [Fausto Saraceni & Ennio De Concini] b&w

 

 

1952

Totò a colori/Toto in Color [Steno] c; first Italian feature in color

1952

Jolanda, la figlia del corsaro nero [Mario Soldati] b&w

1952

I tre corsari/Three Corsairs [Mario Soldati] b&w

1952

Dov'è la libertà...?/Where Is Freedom? [Roberto Rossellini] b&w; cph: Aldo Tonti

1952

Fratelli d'Italia [Fausto Saraceni] b&w

1952

Totò e le donne/Toto and the Women [Steno & (Mario) Monicelli] b&w

1952

Gioventù alla sbarra [Ferruccio Cerio] b&w

1953

Amori di mezzo secolo [seg 'Napoli '43' dir by Roberto Rossellini] c; 5 seg

1953

Ti ho sempre amato! [Mario Costa] b&w

1953

Il sacco di Roma/The Barbarians/The Pagans [Ferruccio Cerio] b&w

1954

L'ombra [Giorgio Bianchi] b&w

1954

Le signorine dello 04 [Gianni Franciolini] b&w

1954

Tradita/La notte delle nozze/Night of Love [Mario Bonnard] b&w; cph: Sergio Bergamini

1954

L'angelo bianco [Raffaello Matarazzo & Silvio Amadio] b&w

1954

Rosso e nero/Le rouge et le noir [Domenico Paolella] c

1954

Il Nilo di piètra [Gian Luigi Rondi] ?; short/?m

1955

Piccola posta [Steno] b&w

1955

L'intrusa/The Intruder [Raffaello Matarazzo] b&w

1955

Accadde al penitenziario [Giorgio Bianchi] b&w

1955

Donatella [Mario Monicelli] cs/c

1956

Una voce, una chitarra e un po' di luna [Giacomo Gentilomo] b&w

1956

Poveri ma belli/A Girl in Bikini/Poor But Beautiful [Dino Risi] b&w; followed by 'Belle ma povere' (1957)

1956

Buon appetito [Fausto Saraceni] ?; short/?m

1956

Vecchie amicizie [Fausto Saraceni] ?; short/?m

1956

Questo nostro mondo/Questo meraviglioso mondo [Ugo Lazzarini, Eros Macchi & Angelo Negri] scope/c; doc/76m; cph: Alvaro Mancori, Massimo Dallamano, a.o.

1957

Femmine tre volte/Female Three Times [Steno] b&w

1957

La nonna Sabella/Oh! Sabella [Dino Risi] b&w

1957

Susanna tutta panna [Steno] b&w; cph: Marco Scarpelli

1957

Seven Hills of Rome [Roy Rowland (replaced Rudolph Maté)] tr/c; replaced ph Giuseppe Rotunno

1957

Arrivederci Roma [Mario Musso & Roy Rowland] tr/c; Italian version of 'Seven Hills of Rome'

1957

Belle ma povere/Poor Girl, Pretty Girl [Dino Risi] b&w; followed by 'Poveri milionari' (1958)

1957

Adorabili e bugiarde/Assassinio col botto [Nunzio Malasomma] b&w

1958

Venezia, la luna e tu/Venice, the Moon and You [Dino Risi] c

1958

Marinai, donne e guai [Giorgio Simonelli] Panoramico/b&w; cph: Alejandro Ulloa

1958

Primo amore/First Love [Mario Camerini] b&w

1958

L'amico del giaguaro [Giuseppe Bennati] b&w

1958

Poveri milionari [Dino Risi] b&w

1959

Le cameriere [Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia] b&w

1959

Il mondo di notte [I]/World by Night [I] [Luigi Vanzi] tr/c; doc/95m

1960

Il ladro di Bagdad/The Thief of Bagdad [Arthur Lubin & Bruno Vailati] cs/c

1960

Morgan il pirata/Morgan the Pirate [Primo Zeglio & André de Toth] cs/c

1961

Le meraviglie di Aladino/The Wonders of Aladdin [Mario Bava & Henry Levin] cs/c

1961

Accattone [Pier Paolo Pasolini] b&w

1961

I nuovi angeli/The New Angels [Ugo Gregoretti] b&w; doc/95m; cph: Mario Bernardo

1961

Lo spadaccino di Siena/La congiura dei dieci/Swordsman of Siena [Etienne Périer & Baccio Bandini] cs/c

1961

Le mercenaire [Etienne Périer] cs/c; French-language version of 'Lo spadaccino di Siena'

1962

Mamma Roma [Pier Paolo Pasolini] b&w

1962

La monaca di Monza [Carmine Gallone] b&w

1962

La bella di Lodi [Mario Missiroli] vv/b&w

 

[Hat] with dir Pier Paolo Pasolini [at camera] - "RoGoPaG"

 

1962

Laviamoci il cervello - ROGOPAG [1. Roberto ROssellini ('Illibatezza'), 2. Jean-Luc GOdard ('Il nuovo mondo/Le nouveau monde'), 3. Pier Paolo PAsolini ('La ricotta') & 4. Ugo Gregoretti ('Il pollo ruspante')] b&w + c (titles and 2 crucifixion scenes 'La ricotta' + end titles film); ph seg 3 (31m); other ph: Luciano Trasatti (seg 1), Jean Rabier (seg 2) & Mario Bernardo (seg 4)

1963

Liolà/A Very Handy Man [Alessandro Blasetti] b&w; ext ph; ph: Carlo Di Palma & Leonida Barboni

1963

El verdugo/La ballata del boia/The Executioner/Not On Your Life [Luis García Berlanga] b&w

1963

Les plus belles escroqueries du monde/Le più belle truffe del mondo/The Beautiful Swindlers [seg 'Il foglio di via/Naples/La feuille de route' dir by Ugo Gregoretti] fs/b&w; 4 seg (seg dir by Jean-Luc Godard and ph by Raoul Coutard was cut from the film); other ph: Jean Rabier, Asakazu Nakai & Jerzy Lipman

1963

Comizi d'amore/Love Meetings [Pier Paolo Pasolini] 16mm-35bu/b&w; doc/90m; cph: Mario Bernardo

1963

Amore in quattro dimensioni [seg 'Amore e morte' dir by Mino Guerrini & 'Amore e arte' dir by Gianni Puccini] b&w; 4 seg; other ph: Carlo Di Palma & Dario Di Palma

1964

Amori pericolosi [seg 'Il generale' dir by Alfredo Giannetti] b&w; 3 seg; cph: Leonida Barboni; other ph: L. Barboni & Alvaro Mancori

1964

Il vangelo secondo Matteo/The Gospel According to St. Matthew [Pier Paolo Pasolini] b&w

1964

Le mura di Sana/The Walls of Sana'a [Pier Paolo Pasolini] c; doc/13m; cph: Sebastiano Celeste

1964

Extraconiugale [seg 'La doccia' dir by Massimo Franciosa] b&w; 3 seg; other ph: Erico Menczer & Alfio Contini

1964

Le soldatesse/Des filles pour l'armée/The Camp Followers [Valerio Zurlini] b&w

1965

La mandragola/The Mandrake [Alberto Lattuada] b&w

1965

Andremo in città [Nelo Risi] b&w

1965

Le lit à deux places/Racconti a due piazze [seg 'Le monstre/Mourir pour vivre' dir by Gianni Puccini] b&w; 5 seg; other ph: Robert Lefebvre, a.o.

 

 

1965

Uccellacci e uccellini/The Hawks and the Sparrows [Pier Paolo Pasolini] b&w; cph: Mario Bernardo

1966

Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo/The Good, the Bad and the Ugly [Sergio Leone] ts/c

1966

Les sultans/L'amante italiana [Jean Delannoy] c

1967

Capriccio all'italiana/Caprice Italian Style [seg 'Che cosa sono le nuvole?' dir by Pier Paolo Pasolini] scope/c; 6 seg; other ph: Giuseppe Rotunno & Silvano Ippoliti

1967

La Cina è vicina/China Is Near [Marco Bellocchio] b&w

1967

Il giorno della civetta/The Day of the Owl/Mafia [Damiano Damiani] ts/c

1967

Questi fantasmi/Ghosts - Italian Style [Renato Castellani] c

1967

Histoires extraordinaires/Tre passi nel delirio/Tales of Mystery and Imagination/Spirits of the Dead [seg 'William Wilson' dir by Louis Malle & 'Toby Dammit' dir by Federico Fellini] c; 3 seg; cph 'Toby Dammit': Giuseppe Rotunno; other ph: Claude Renoir

1968

Metti una sera a cena/Love Circle/One Night at Dinner [Giuseppe Patroni Griffi] ts/c

1968

C'era una volta il West/Once Upon a Time in the West [Sergio Leone] ts/c

1968

Niente rose per OSS 117/Pas de roses pour OSS 117/[OSS 117] Murder for Sale [Renzo Cerrato, Jean-Pierre Desagnat & André Hunebelle] c

1969

Porcile/Pigpen/Pigsty [Pier Paolo Pasolini] c; ph 2nd seg; cph: Giuseppe Ruzzolini; ph 1st seg: Armando Nannuzzi

1969

Rosolino Paternò, Soldato.../Operation Snafu [Nanni Loy] ts/c; cph: Riccardo Pallottini

1970

Pussycat, Pussycat, I Love You [Rod Amateau] c

 

[Right] with Pier Paolo Pasolini - "Il Decameron"

 

1970

Il Decameron/The Decameron [Pier Paolo Pasolini] c

1971

Cometogether [Saul Swimmer] c

1971

Homo Eroticus/Man of the Year [Marco Vicario] c

1971

I racconti di Canterbury/The Canterbury Tales [Pier Paolo Pasolini] c

1971

Pilgrimage [Beni Montresor] vv/c

1972

Un uomo da rispettare/A Man to Respect/The Master Touch/Hearts and Minds [Michele Lupo] ts/c

1972

Los amigos/Deaf Smith and Johnny Ears [Paolo Cavara] c

1973

Paolo il caldo [Marco Vicario] c

1973

Storie scellerate [Sergio Citti] c

1973

Peccato veniale [Salvatore Samperi] c

1974

Lacombe Lucien [Louis Malle] c

1974

Mio Dio come sono caduta in basso!/Till Marriage Do Us Part [Luigi Comencini] c

1975

Pasqualino Settebellezze/Seven Beauties [Lina Wertmüller] c

1975

Salò o le centoventi giornate di Sodoma/Pasolini's 120 Days of Sodom [Pier Paolo Pasolini] c

 

 

1976

Anima persa [Dino Risi] c

1976

Caro Michele/Dear Michael [Mario Monicelli] c

1976

Un taxi mauve/The Purple Taxi [Yves Boisset] c; 2uc: Jacques Loiseleux

1977

Casotto/Beach House [Sergio Citti] c

1977

La nuit Venus [Jean Genet] ?

1977

I nuovi mostri/Viva Italia! [Mario Monicelli (2 seg), Dino Risi (5 seg) & Ettore Scola (7 seg)] vv/c; 14 seg; 87m (cut version) & 115m (full version)

1978

Primo amore [Dino Risi] c

1978

Viaggio con Anita/Travels with Anita/Lovers and Liars [Mario Monicelli] c

1978

Fatto di sangue fra due uomini per causa di una vedova. Si sospettano moventi politici/Blood Feud/Revenge [Lina Wertmüller] c

1978

Caro papà/Dear Papa [Dino Risi] c

1979

Temporale Rosy/Hurricane Rosie [Mario Monicelli] c

1979

Sono fotogenico [Dino Risi] c

1979

Sunday Lovers/Les séducteurs/I seduttori della domenica [seg #4 'Armando's Notebook/Roma' dir by Dino Risi] c; 4 seg; other ph: Claude Lecomte, Gerald Hirschfeld & Claude Agostini

1980

Fantasma d'amore/Ghost of Love/Die zwei Gesichter einer Frau [Dino Risi] c

1980

Camera d'albergo [Mario Monicelli] c

1981

Storie di ordinaria follia/Tales of Ordinary Madness [Marco Ferreri] c

1982

Trenchcoat [Michael Tuchner] c

1982

Once Upon a Time in America/C'era una volta in America [Sergio Leone] c; 147m & 229m

1984

Il futuro è donna/The Future Is Woman [Marco Ferreri] c

1985

Ginger e Fred [Federico Fellini] c; cph: Ennio Guarnieri

 

 

1986

The Name of the Rose/Der Name der Rose [Jean-Jacques Annaud] 35mm (+ 70bu)/c

1986

[Fellini's] Intervista [Federico Fellini] c; + small part

1989

La voce della luna/The Voice of the Moon [Federico Fellini] c

1989

La domenica specialmente/Especially on Sunday [seg 'Il cane blu' dir by Giuseppe Tornatore] c; other ph: Dante Spinotti, Fabio Cianchetti, Franco Lecca & Gianni Marras; 6 seg (also version with 4 seg)

1990

L'africana/The African Woman/Die Rückkehr [Margarethe von Trotta] c

1990

F/X2 [- The Deadly Art of Illusion] [Richard Franklin] c; Rome ph; ph: Victor Kemper; L.A. ph: David M. Walsh

1991

Lunes de fiel/Bitter Moon [Roman Polanski] c

1991

Una storia semplice/A Simple Story [Emidio Greco] c

1991

La soif de l'or [Gérard Oury] c

1994

Death and the Maiden [Roman Polanski] c; 2uc: Nicola Pecorini

1994

Cento di questi anni [Corrado Farina] v/c; doc/35m

1995

Facciamo paradiso [Mario Monicelli] c

1996

Marianna Ucrìa [Roberto Faenza] c

1997

La vita è bella/Life Is Beautiful [Roberto Benigni] c

NOTE: Some sources credit Tonino Delli Colli with the ph of 'Nada/Voragine' [1948, Edgar Neville], 'La mano della morta' [1949, Carlo Campogalliani] & 'Ceramiche Umbre' [1949, Glauco Pellegrini; short], but he didn't ph these films.

 

 TELEVISION

1965

Resurrezione [Franco Enriquez] 6-part miniseries

1988

Stradivari [Giacomo Battiato] tvm

 

 MISCELLANEOUS

1940

La fanciulla di portici [Mario Bonnard] c.asst; ph: Mario Albertelli

1942

Rossini [Mario Bonnard] c.op; ph: Mario Albertelli

 

[Left] with actress Clara Calamai & ph Ubaldo Arata - "L'adultera"

 

1945

L'adultera/The Adulteress [Duilio Coletti] c.op; ph: Ubaldo Arata

1947

Black Magic/Cagliostro [Gregory Ratoff & (uncred) Orson Welles] uncred co-c.op; ph: Ubaldo Arata, Anchise Brizzi & (uncred) Otello Martelli