19 January 2021

Erminio Macario

Erminio Macario (1902-1980), best known as Macario, was an Italian film actor and comedian. His comical style was a mixture between Charlie Chaplin and the Marx Brothers. He appeared in 42 films between 1933 and 1975.

Erminio Macario
Italian postcard by Bromostampa, Torino, no. 124. Photo: Macari.

Erminio Macario and Carlo Moreno in Il Chiromante (1941)
Italian postcard by N. Moneta, Milano, no. 124. Photo: Capitani Film / E.N.I.C. Erminio Macario and Carlo Moreno in Il Chiromante/The Fortune Teller (Oreste Biancoli, 1941). The song which Moreno performs is written by Simoinini-Bixio: "O Lolita del mio cuor, voglio un bacio il primo ancor, il secondo vien da sè, non c'è due senza tre". (O Lolita of my heart, I want a kiss the first still, the second comes by itself, there is no two without three).

One of the most popular comedians of the revue theatre

Born in Turin in 1902, Erminio Macario made his debut at a young age in the amateur dramatics company Don Bosco Oratory in Valdocco. Then he was part of some small amateur companies of his hometown until 1924 when he was cast in the company of dancing and pantomime of Giovanni Molasso.

Soon after, he entered the company of Wanda Osiris, the undisputed queen of the revue of that time in Italy. Between the two wars, he became in a short time one of the most popular comedians of the revue theatre.

Macario made his film debut with Aria di paese/Country Air (Eugenio de Liguoro, 1933). He played an unemployed drifter who takes a series of jobs, each one of which he quickly loses. He then goes to the countryside for a while where he falls in love with a woman (Laura Adani).

His breakthrough came six years later with two comedy films directed by Mario Mattoli and co-written by a young Federico Fellini, Imputato alzatevi!/Defendant, Stand Up! (Mario Mattoli, 1939) and Lo vedi come sei... lo vedi come sei?/Do you see how you are ... do you see how you are? (Mario Mattoli, 1939).

Macario in Il vagabondo (1941)
Italian postcard by Ed. Graf. Moneta, Milano, reprint by Ed. Lo Vecchio, Genoa. Image: Dist. ENIC, Roma / Capitani Film. Poster for the comedy Il vagabondo (Carlo Borghesio, Oreste Biancoli, 1941).

Macario in Il pirata sono io
Italian postcard by Ed. N. Moneta, Milano. Image: S.A. Produzioni Capitani Film. Distr. E.N.I.C. [Erminio] Macario in the Italian film comedy Il pirata sono io (Mario Mattoli, 1940).

The first Western parody in Italian cinema

Erminio Macario starred in the comedy ll fanciullo del West/The Boy of the West (Giorgio Ferroni, 1943), named after Puccini's opera 'La fanciulla del West' (The Girl of the West). It is considered the first Western parody in Italian cinema.

Then followed a series of successful comedies directed by Carlo Borghesio, including Come persi la guerra/How I Lost the War (Carlo Borghesio, 1947) with Vera Carmi, and Come scopersi l'America/How I Discovered America (Carlo Borghesio, 1949) with Carlo Ninchi and Delia Scala.

Since the early fifties Macario appeared in short characterisations in anthology films and was the sidekick of Totò in such films as La cambiale/The bill (Camillo Mastrocinque, 1959), and Totòsexy/Sexy Toto (Mario Amendola, 1963).

Starting from the mid-sixties he finally focused on television and theatre. One of his last films was the comedy Due sul pianerottolo/Two on the landing (Mario Amendola, 1976) with Rita Pavone.

At the age of 77, Macario passed away in 1980 in Turin.

Italian postcard, reprint, by Ed. Lo Vecchio, Genoa. Caricature by Nino Za, signed and dated 1951.

Erminio Macario
Italian postcard by Gevaert.

Italian postcard by Rotalfoto, Milano, no. 316. Photo: Locchi.

Sources: Wikipedia (English and Italian), and IMDb.

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