05 June 2014

Roberto Risso

Italian actor Roberto Risso (1925-2010) is best known as the shy and upward policeman who falls in love with Gina Lollobrigida in the comedy Pane, amore e fantasia/Bread, Love and Dreams (1953).

Roberto Risso
Italian postcard by Rotalfoto, Milano, no. 443.

Ideal Boyfriend

Roberto Risso was the stage name of Pietro Roberto Strub, born in Geneva, Switzerland in 1925.

While still studying architecture, he made his film debut with a brief appearance in Il leone di Amalfi/The Lion of Amalfi (Pietro Francisci, 1950), starring Vittorio Gassman.

He got a bigger part in Domani è un altro giorno/Tomorrow is another day (Leonide Moguy, 1951), as the seducer of Anna Maria Pierangeli (Pier Angeli).

Thanks to his looks, he had a successful career as the ideal boyfriend in lightweight and sentimental films.

International success came with the classic romantic comedy Pane, amore e fantasia/Bread, Love and Dreams (Luigi Comencini, 1953), and the sequel Pane, amore e gelosia/Bread, Love and Jealousy (Luigi Comencini, 1954).

He played the role of Pietro Stelluti, a shy, awkward and upright carabiniere in a remote mountain village, in love with the light-hearted and bubbly Gina Lollobrigida. Both films were loved by the public and the critics alike.

Roberto Risso
Italian postcard in the series Divi del Cinema by Vetta Traldi, Milano, no. 74.

Remarkable ease and credibility

Roberto Risso continued his career with many films in which he appeared mostly as a character actor.

Among these films are the prostitution drama Donne proibite/Angels of Darkness (Giuseppe Amato, 1954) with Linda Darnell and Valentina Cortese, and the French thriller Bonnes à tuer/One Step to Eternity (Henri Decoin, 1954) starring Corinne Calvet.

His best film performance was probably in Una pelliccia di visone/A mink coat (Glauco Pellegrini, 1956).

He always played with remarkable ease and credibility such as in the Italian-British WW II thriller L'affondamento della Valiant/The Valiant (Roy Ward Baker, Giorgio Captiani, 1962) opposite John Mills.

Later, tired of the typecasting, he spent some time in film production.

In the late 1960s he retired from the cinema. His last film was the Spaghetti Western Odia il prossimo tuo/ Hate Thy Neighbor (Ferdinando Baldi, 1968), in which he credited Robert Rice.

That year, he was also a game contestant in the Rai TV show Domani è un altro giorno/Those on Sunday. On that occasion he declared that he had left the film industry to work in the fashion world.

In the course of the 1970s, he reappeared in some soap operas.

Roberto Risso died in Milan, Italy in 2010, six days before his eighty-fifth birthday. He was married to Mimma Ciurlo.

Roberto Risso
Italian postcard by Levibrom, Milano.

Sources: AllMovie, Wikipedia (Italian) and IMDb.

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