Il processo e morte di Socrate (1939)

"The Trial and Death of Socrates"


Cast
Luigi Almirante
Rossano Brazzi
Alfredo De Sanctis (1886-1954)
Olga Vittoria Gentilli
Alfredo Robert
Ruggero Ruggeri (1871-1953)
Filippo Scelzo
Ermete Zacconi (1857-1948)

Director
Corrado D'Errico (1902-1941)

Art Director
Alfredo Manzi

Composer
Giuseppe Mulè (1885-1951)

Director of Photography
Ubaldo Arata

Production
Scalera Films

Background

This was Rossano's first film. Already a notable success in Italian theater, he had been unable to make the transition from theater to films, recalling later that his earliest screen tests were not very good. At the time, this was a source of perpetual frustration for him. He had finally given up hope of ever finding work in the cinema, and was at the time performing at the Boboli Gardens in Florence, Italy. His performances in "Caesar" and "Aminta" had been enormously well received, and the season in question had been an unqualified success. His earliest biographer, Pietro Osso, continues:

"Participating in the Regional Contest the young actor won first prize and took part in some performances of the G.U.F. of Florence, interpreting works of particular importance such as: ĞLa maschera di carne" and ĞLa casağ. Other such recognitions constituted the first notoriety of Rossano Brazzi in Florence, increasing his activity in the amateur drama centers.

However the youth also considered other destinations and departed for Rome, looking for more arduous risks and more concrete challenges. In the capital city he was introduced to a director, who Rossano doesn't desire to name, and suffered through his first screen-test. The result was unfortunate and the young man was advised to devote himself to other forms of art.

Indescribable desolation!

In these disappointments, in the atmosphere of those dismal days, Rossano knew that Emma Gramatica, remembering the good performance made by the youth in the amateur actor contest, wanted him in her own Company and so the first veil of sadness was dissipated. The youth performed with her Company for a long tour of Germany, and they missed no opportunity to encourage him. Newly returned home, he longed for the opportunity to prove himself equally well in the cinema. He tried taking screen-tests again with great determination, but the producers seemed inflexible and the directors little convinced of his possibilities, nor did he succeed in persuading them with his success achieved in the theater. When Brazzi finally thought that every attempt he could make would be in vain, a patron appeared: a producer that entrusted to him a small part in a film.

He departed enthusiastically with a small nest-egg, but here another disappointment awaited him, and, without having filmed even a meter of film, he returned to Rome, tired of awaiting the unrealized promises of the producer.

His first return to the theater brought him to the Gramatica company, where he renewed his successes. But there wasn't enough applause that could let him forget the cinema, to which he was attracted by an inexplicable force.

He moved on, after other repeated attempts to be able to reconcile with the cinema, to the company of Annibale Ninchi, and it was here that he sharpened, under the direction of the manager, his own ability to acquire that absolute mastery of any scene...

..."At the end of the season (at the Boboli Gardens), after returning to Rome for some rest, a telegram of invitation reached him from Scalera. After all of the uncertainties through which the young actor had passed, he had become instinctively pessimistic and started toward the establishment on the Via Appia with little conviction and a lot of disinterest.

This time, however, after all of the punishments he had suffered, cheerful news greeted him. Conrad Di Errico had discovered the future star, and had spoken to Michel Scalerà about him. Without any time wasted, Rossano was performing in "Il processo e morte di Socrate", at the side of Ermete Zacconi who had shown such enthusiasm towards the young newcomer. The criticism (to which a true artist would never pay any attention) that was returned was favorable: with the producers, the directors, the co-workers -- and a bright cinema future was prophesied for him."

Rossano Brazzi: Complete Actor, by Pietro Osso, 1942

Synopsis
We're going to go way out on a limb and make a wild guess that the plot involved ... the trial and death of Socrates? (We have no proof of this, however ...)

Notes
Almirante also worked on Gli ultimi cinque minuti
Gentilli also worked on Tosca
Scelzo: see reference Il ponte di vetro.
Zacconi also worked on Cronaca di due secoli.
Manzi: see Il ponte di vetro.
Arata: see Il ponte di vetro.

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