Biography of Dino De Laurentiis (1919-2010)

Producer of Italian cinema, born on August 8, 1919 in Torre Annunziata and died on November 11, 2010.


Son of a Neapolitan Breadmaker, Dino de Laurentiis he/she enrolled at age seventeen at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia of Rome, at the time that eked out a living in the most various plots of the craft: worked as an occasional actor, atrezzista, locations Manager, helper, Assistant direction and production, until his wit alive and awake prompted him to take charge of the complete organization of a film at the age of twenty-two: L'amore canta (1941), Ferdinando M. Poggioli, a gentle comedy starring Maria Denis and Massimo Seratto. Strictly speaking, it was not so much producer but also as director of production of the company Realcine. Under the aegis of this signature, the ICI Distributor, and then Lux Film, is trained in several films of some popular impact: Margheritta fra i tre, Ivo Perilli; Zaza, Renato Castellani; or Malombra, Mario Soldati, three of 1942.

After having participated in the second world war, he/she returned to his office, and the first film which dealt with as an autonomous, independent, producer was Il bandito (1946), by Alberto Lattuada, with a famous couple: Anna Magnani and Amedeo Nazzari, followed two adventure films well resolved by brilliant specialists in the genre: La figlia del capitano, Mario Camerini, e Il cavaliere mysterious, Riccardo Freda, both in 1947. It immediately achieved its first success as a producer, getting an interesting mix of social commitment and eroticism with bitter rice (1948), by Giuseppe De Santis, in which the figure of Silvana Mangano (who became his wife the following year and that they remained married until the death of the actress, which took place on December 16, 1989) reached the stellar range that always kept.

Dino de Laurentiis had the wisdom to join forces with the producer which, at that time, was willing to compete with him in the same field: its association with Carlo Ponti not only favoured the development of each of them, but strengthened and stabilized the power of Italian production in the mid-1950s. It was a relatively brief but intense, cooperation which broke at the end in 1957.

This was a very fruitful period full of titles that indicate a variety of sights and resources bold then he/she applied De Laurentiis in films of greater commitment, both artistic and commercial. He/She tackled the genre of populist film neorealism, supported local comedians but nationwide: Napoli milionària (1950), of Eduardo De Filippo, or Toto a colori (1952), of Steno; He/She returned to insist that combination of eroticism with social realism in Anna (1951), by Alberto Lattuada, he/she strengthened the sensual magnetism of the Mangano with its unforgettable "zumbón black bayon..."; He/She raised a cinema of adventure for young and old in Gli undici moschettieri (1952), of Ennio De Concini and Fausto Saraceni or Jolanda figlia of corsaro nero (1952), by Mario Soldati; but also established a firm commitment with the great directors of the neorealist period: Roberto Rossellini (Dov' and freedom?, 1952); Luigi Zampa (Anni übrig, 1953); Vittorio de Sica (L'oro di Napoli, 1954); and, of course, favored the start of maturity and Federico Fellini international by producing two of his masterpieces, La Strada (1954) and the nights of Cabiria (1957).

The years are, in addition, that the crisis of American cinema forced the powerful producers to seek, in the temporary European exile, the remedy for its ills. Laurentiss Dino profited from this situation, using not only American stars for productions of European format -Kirk Douglas in Ulysses (1954), Mario Camerini, where again Silvana Mangano appeared splendidly in a double role, as the fascinating Circe and the patient Penelope, or Anthony Quinn in man or Demon (1954), by Pietro Francisci- but taking charge of real blockbusters typically "Hollywood" to which he/she printed his hallmark, as it is the case of war and peace (1956), King Vidor, with a cast headed by Audrey Hepburn, Henry Fonda, Mel Ferrer and Vittorio Gassman.

Broken the Ponti-De Laurentiis Association, whose biggest success was undoubtedly the Oscar for best foreign film in 1957 to the nights of Cabiria, Dino de Laurentiis continued his career in solitary, already developed in the megalomaniac producer capable of creating Dinocitta, a few film studios born with the intention to become the major European producer of all-time: the huge complex, located on the outskirts of Rome, intended to absorb not only their own productions, but all that project came from American companies and his own countrymen. But expectations have not been met to the extent of their desires, and Dino de Laurentiis chose to establish its field of operations in the United States.

However, it wasn't Hollywood, they settled in Wilmington, North Carolina, where he/she started an aggressive campaign of promotion and manufacturing of film products that sought to beat on its own market, the American competitor. He/She called his company De Laurentiis Entertainment Group (DEG), and drew up a really ambitious production plan that included films of deep Yankee roots, which was inserted into the cultural of their adopted country, and modules assigned to directors of prestigious, as Serpico (1973), of Sidney Lumet, Mandingo (1975) by Richard Fleischer, or three days of the condor (1975), of Sidney Pollack, until violent blockbusters that never responded to ticket sellers and commercial approaches that they drove them: beginning with King Kong (1976) by John Guillermin, senseless remake of the masterpiece of the 1930s, with a debutante Jessica Lange (who in the documentary that he/she dedicated the Pacific Street Films, said apropos of Dino de Laurentiis: "is essentially)(", a man of the spectacle") to another error in trying to improve a classic: mutiny on Board (1984), Roger Donaldson. It almost ruined the reputation of the intimate Jan Troell entrusted him the realization of the mammoth hurricane (1979) and was wrong in their forecasts with two other projects which is boasted as the most ambitious of the time: Flash Gordon (1980), of Michael Hodges, and Dune (1984), by David Lynch.

It must be said that, even though it complicated his aspirations in the obsession to become a systematic manufacturer of "blockbusters" ('bombings of box office'), Dino de Laurentiis offered the opportunity to shoot an Ingmar Bergmanexiled (for tax reasons) in Germany: the egg of the Snake (1977), or that Milos Forman had the necessary means to achieve his best work: Ragtime (1981).

However, that megalomaniac neurosis led him to try to repeat impossible success and insisted on making a new version of what already had been an unnecessary remake: King Kong II (1986), by John Guillermin; or try to improve a work more than estimable William Wyler (the desperate hours, 1955), entrusting it to Michael Cimino: 37 desperate hours (1990), or climb abruptly to truck the sexual provocation of basic instinct, imitating it without concealment in the body of the crime (1992), of Uli Edel, allowing Madonna to parodiara, to his regret, the feats of Sharon Stone in the film by Paul Verhoeven.

Such busts led to that, in 1988, Dino De Laurentiis is forced to resign from his position at the head of his brand-new American producer, which was leading to bankruptcy. It took the controls, then, his daughter, Raffaella De Laurentiis, who had already taken part in some of the earlier adventures of his father, but that unfolded for a time as an independent producer, and who appropriated the firm DEG as President and Director of production. Wilmington studios were acquired by Carolco Company, and while Raffaella was still producing in a line similar to that of his father, Dino de Laurentiis tried to in recent years regaining public favor implementing various projects in collaboration with his wife Marta Schumacher, that he/she married in 1990.

The most recent attempts to De Laurentiis have oriented films of the genre, like the Escondido police in memory (1996), John Dahl, with Ray Liotta, or even films of military atmosphere, locked up the action in a submarine as U-571 (1999), Jonathan Mostow, with Matthew McConaughey, Bill Paxton and Harvey Keitel. Also has ripped De Laurentiis into the international television series that tried to reproduce their past successes in the field of biblical extravaganza, with two blockbusters made by Robert M. Young: Slave of Dreams (1995) and Solomon & Sheba (1996), with Jimmy Smits and Halle Berry embodying the star characters.


1941: L'amore canta. 1942: Margheritta fra i tre; Zaza; Malombra.1946: Il bandito. 1947: La figlia del capitano; Il cavaliere mysterious. 1948: Bitter rice; The broken illusion. 1949: I pompieri di Viggiù; Il lupo della Sila; Adamo ed Eva. 1950: Naples millionaire. 1951: L'ultimo incontro; Ana.1952: Gli undici moschettieri; Toto a colori; Alarm in the fleet; Yolanda; Fratelli d' Italy; Dov'e freedom?. 1953: Il paese of the campanile; Anni übrig. 1954: Ulysses; The nights of Cleopatra; La Strada; Mambo; A giorno in pretura; Man or demon; L'oro di Napoli. 1955: Le diciottenni; The beautiful peasant. 1956: war and peace. 1957: Malafemmina; The nights of Cabiria. 1958: Barrage contre le Pacifique; L' storm!. 1959: The great war. 1960: All home; The Hunchback of Rome; Five Branded Women; The Unfaithfuls; Under ten banderas.1961: La dolce vita; Fists of iron; Il Giudizio Universale. 1962: Barabbas; The Best of Enemies. 1963: On Thursday; Il diavolo; The speculator. 1964:... And Suddenly It's Murder!; Three profiles of women; Il disco volante. 1965: A Day in Court. 1966: the Bible; The witches; Operazione Paradiso. 1967: Abroad. 1968: Rome like Chicago; Capriccio all' Italian; Bandits in Milan; Romeo and Juliet; Danger: Diabolik; L'amante di Gramigna; The battle of Anzio; Barbarella.1969: Io non scappo... fugo; A short season; La società the malessere; Fräulein Doktor. 1970: L'urlo; Waterloo.1971: Riding the hell; The Gorge of the devil. 1972: The secrets of the Cosa Nostra; Sowing illusions; The più bella serata della mia vita. 1973: Serpico.1974: two missionaries; The police, the gangster and the violent; Joe, the fool; The righteous of the city. 1975: mean Frank & Crazy Tony; Shea; The three days of the condor. 1976: The last gunman; Drum; Lip pencil; King Kong. 1977: The Serpent's egg. 1978: Indomitable lineage. 1979: The first great assault on the train; Huracan.1980: Flash Gordon 1981: L' Bloodrager!; Ragtime.1982: Amityville II: The Possession; Conan, the barbarian; Fighting Back. 1984: Mutiny on board; Eyes of fire; Dune; Conan the destroyer. 1985: Manhattan South; The Red Warrior; The eyes of the cat. 1986: king Kong II. 1990: 37 desperate hours. 1992: Only missing the killer; The body of the crime. 1995: Asesinos.1996: hidden in the memory. 1997: Breakdown. 1999: U-571.


1981: 2 Halloween: The Nightmare isn't Ain't Over!. 1987: Bellissimo: Images of the Italian Cinema (documentary in two episodes) [interviewee appears]. 1995: Slave of Dreams. 1996: Solomon & Sheba.


BRUNETTA, Gian Piero: History of the Italian cinema (2 vol.). Rome. Editori Riuniti. 1979-1982.

LEBRUN, Dominique: Trans Europe Hollywood. Les européens du Cinéma américain. Paris. Bordas S. A. 1992,

MAGRELLI, e.: Sull' Italian cinematographic industry. Venezia. Marsilio Ed. 1986.

J. García de Dueñas