One of the best snapshots of Rossano we’ve ever come across came not from a camera, but from the pen of Glynis Johns, who wrote a “sketch” about him for the press book of Loser Takes All. This is one of the best descriptions of his personality we’ve read, covering everything from his intelligence, to his wicked sense of humor, to his charm, to his skills as an actor. (Not to mention his bewilderment at why so many women he met seemed to have speech impediments!)
One of the most consistent observations about Rossano that doesn’t always make it to the printed page, was his uncanny ability to present the facet of himself, both on screen and in person, that he intuitively knew was expected or needed of him – which is why he was such a tremendous actor — and why he sometimes was perceived so differently, by so many different people.
THIS MAN BRAZZI
By Glynis Johns
(Copyright 1956, DCA, Loser Takes All, Pressbook)
“After I had completed the film LOSER TAKES ALL with Rossano Brazzi, I was often asked what he was like – the man described as the screen’s most romantic lover. I feel that one must be a bit of a sailor to describe him properly. He moves like a hurricane, argues in a storm of violent Italian, Spanish and English, and when he kisses you on the set it feels as if you’ve been hit on the head with an anchor. It’s all put on of course, you know it, he knows it, but it doesn’t seem to make any difference. It’s a wonderful experience acting with this man -though one should not, I feel, be hit on the head with an anchor too often.
Rossano is a professional actor, and a natural man. He has that ability to make you believe every word he says – even when you know it isn’t true. This is probably because he always says what you want to believe. His manner off the set always keeps you guessing. One moment he is quietly charming, smooth, suave — the perfect example of sophistication and grooming. In another moment one f eels that he would not have the slightest compunction in dragging you off by your hair to the nearest cave. And the interesting thing is that one feels one wouldn’t mind being dragged off to the nearest cave!
I can’t say much about the real Rossano, because I can’t make up my mind which of the many Rossanos is the real one. He has much confidence in himself (I nearly said calm confidence, but there’s nothing calm about this man), and a vast amount of experience (in films I mean), to back that confidence. He is a perfectionist on the set and likes everything to be just right (including me). With the press he says things which make his publicity man shudder and the reporters jump with glee. He says it all with his tongue in his cheek – but it’s not always printed that way.
He feels that the “Great Lover” tag is what the press wants – so he gives it to them. “They have come all this way for a story – it would be cruel not to give them one.” Like most Italians he can talk about love all day – not the soft dreamy love of poets, but the cool calculating love of the expert. Even when I’ve posed for stills with him, stills of us embracing in some romantic spot in Monte Carlo, I know that for the single instant as the shutter clicks he is in love with me. Two seconds later he will be talking about a football match he saw in Madrid.
I sometimes think that he builds such a picture around himself with his constant interviews with the press, that a lot of people are losing sight of the most important thing about Rossano – that he is a fine sensitive actor with whom any actress worth her salt would like to act. I know people are not very interested in acting as such – and I suppose Rossano knows this too, hence the act – but to me his two finest points are his acting ability and his wonderful sense of humor.
Rossano the man is quite something. Completely uninhibited, he stands tall, tanned and handsome, with greying hair at the temples and a complete repertoire of wooing dialogue, polished to perfection. I love to sit and watch him at work trying to put some tongue-tied girl visiting the set, at her ease. The more charming he becomes the more tongue-tied she gets. In ten minutes dead she has been reduced to a shattered bundle of nerves, and all Rossano has been doing is to be nice to her. When he leaves her and walks away one can see him frown and shake his head. “These English girls are so beautiful, but why do they all stutter?” I never tell him.
Rossano is something British studios have needed for a long time. He is a strong breeze blowing away the stuffiness and the cobwebs – nobody can stand on their high horse f or long with him around. He brings power and virility to love scenes, which of course helps us poor British actresses who have been politely petted and married off over the years.
He thinks in a straight line. He likes a girl – he goes straight over and tells her so. (How he does it depends on her eyes apparently.) By looking into her eyes, he knows immediately what technique to adopt, he told me. When he reads a scene he knows exactly how he wants to play it – and how everybody else should play their parts. When he wants to do something he does it. It sounds simple, but how many of us could do it?
“Yesterday is gone, tomorrow she is not yet here, so enjoy today” is Rossano’s motto. So he lives life to the full and shares the enjoyment he finds with everyone around him.
Yes you have to be a bit of a sailor to describe Rossano Brazzi. He prevents that sinking feeling.”
Film & Theater Awards
Selected Newsletter Articles
Related Reading Material
“The Never Ending Serial”
Created by the Rossano Brazzi International Network