10 June 2012

Adriano Rimoldi

Italian film, stage and television actor Adriano Rimoldi (1912 – 1965) was a popular leading man of the Italian cinema of the early 1940's. Later he became a film star in Spain.

Adriano Rimoldi
Italian postcard by ASER (A. Scarmiglia Edizioni, Roma), no. 66.

Catapulted into Stardom
Born in La Spezia, Italy in 1912, Adriano Rimoldi moved to Florence in the 1930's in order to study medicine. As he grew passionate about theatre, he participated in some student spectacles organised by the GUF-Teatro sperimentale. It permitted him to show Florence his fine diction, his good looks and excellent performance. After that, Rimoldi won a radio contest as announcer and newsreader, which demonstrated the nice timbre of his voice. Towards the late 1930's Rimoldi started his film career, and curiously enough, his first role was that of a radio man in the white telephone comedy Mille lire al mese/One thousand liras a month (1939, Max Neufeld) which starred Alida Valli and which dealt with the new medium of television. Rimoldi’s first role as protagonist was in Addio giovinezza!/Goodbye Youth (1940, Ferdinando Maria Poggioli), which had a staggering success and catapulted Rimoldi into stardom. In the film Rimoldi must choose between a simple seamstress (Maria Denis) and a femme fatale (Clara Calamai). In Tosca (1941), started by Jean Renoir but finished by Carl Koch, Rimoldi plays the rebel Angelotti, who manages to flee from Scarpia’s prison but later on is betrayed by Tosca (Imperio Argentina). In the following years Rimoldi had several male leads in various sword and dagger films, and played opposite the stars of this genre Massimo Serato, Leonardo Cortese, Amedeo Nazzari, Rossano Brazzi and Roberto Villa. He most often worked with director Corrado D'Errico, at Miseria e nobiltà/Poverty and nobility (1940), La compagnia della Teppa/The Group of Teppa (1941) with María Denis, Capitan Tempesta/Captain Tempest (1942) and Il leone di Damasco/The Lion of Damascus (1942) with Doris Duranti. He also worked with Mario Soldati at Tragica notte/Tragic Night (1942), with Dino Falconi at Don Giovanni (1942), and with Christian Jacque at Carmen (1942; released in 1945) starring Viviane Romance and Jean Marais. With Vittorio De Sica’s I bambini ci guardano/The Children Are Watching Us (1943), he managed to obtain a substantial lead in a modern, realist drama, as the lover of Isa Pola, wrecking her marriage and family life. The film brought him critical acclaim, while hitherto critical reaction had been rather tepid towards him. In addition to his cinema work, Rimoldi’s name frequently appeared on the lists of important theatre companies.

Adriano Rimoldi
Italian postcard by Ballerini & Fratini Ed. (BFF), Florence, no. 42390. Photo: Scalera Film, Rome.

Adriano Rimoldi in Gente cosí
Italian postcard. Photo: Prod. ICET-Rizzoli. Adriano Rimoldi in the film Gente cosí/ Mistress of the Mountains (1950, Fernando Cerchio). The story, scripted by Giovanni Guareschi, deals with a village that survives thanks to smuggling. One of the smugglers (Rimoldi) falls in love with the new communist school teacher (Vivi Gioi).

Adriano Rimoldi
Italian postcard by Ballerini & Fratini Ed. (BFF), Florence, no. 43100. Photo: Pesce / Scalera Film, Rome.

Star of the Spanish Cinema
During the time of German Occupation, Adriano Rimoldi worked in Spain, and became a star of in the Spanish cinema. He played the leads in Dora la espía/Dora the Spy (1943, Raffaele Matarazzo) which co-starred the diva of the silent era Francesca Bertini. It was followed by a dozen films by Ignacio F. Iquino and some films by other directors. In a lot of these Spanish films Rimoldi was paired with Spanish actress María Martín, who almost started her career in Dora la espía. Rimoldi returned to Italy in the late 1940's but got almost no leading roles anymore. Exceptions were the leads in La mano della morta/Man of Death (1949, Carlo Campogalliani) with María Martín, Sigillo rosso/I seal red (1950, Flavio Calzavara) with Gino Cervi and Carla del Poggio, Capitan Demonio (1950, Carlo Borghesio) with again Martín, the Giovanni Guareschi adaptation Gente cosí/Mistress of the Mountains (1950, Fernando Cerchio) with Vivi Gioi and Camillo Pillotto, and Ultimo perdono/Last pardon (1952, Renato Polselli) with Franca Marzi. In 1951 he also performed in the comedy Atoll K/Utopia (1951, Léo Joannon), a late Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy vehicle. Ten years later he played the role of Melchior in the epic film The King of Kings (1961, Nicholas Ray) about the life of Jesus Christ. In 1952 Rimoldi returned to the theatre in the comedy with Gran baldoria/Big fun, by Garinei and Giovannini, who asked him back for La granduchessa e i camerieri/The granduchess and the waiters (1956) in which Rimoldi played next to Riccardo Billi and Diana Dei; with the latter he sang a memorable duet. He also was the partner of Isa Miranda in Valentino Bompiani’s Albertina (1955, Italo Alfaro). In 1954 Rimoldi acted for the new medium of television in three TV plays; and appeared on TV in the operetta Wunderbar, directed by Daniele D'Anza. From the late 1950's to the early 1960's Rimoldi played again in several Spanish films; he was also a TV cook in the Spanish TV series Cocina/Kitchen (1957-1958). Until 1963 Rimoldi remained quite active. In that year he played one of his last film roles and appeared on TV in the drama Nocturne in New York by Clifford Odets. In 1965 Rimoldi played his final film part in the Spanish comedy Zarabanda Bing Bing/Operation Gold (1966, José María Forqué) starring Jacques Sernas. That same year he died in Rome, much too early. Adriano Rimoldi is the maternal grandfather of film director Matteo Garrone.

Adriano Rimoldi
Italian postcard by Ballerini & Fratini Ed., Firenze, no. 4497-A. Photo: Vaselli / ACI Europa Film.

Sources: Wikipedia (Italian), and IMDb.

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