Aroldo Tieri: in memory of an Italian from another Era
by Ninni Radicini
January 02, 2007
Indro Montanelli said that to retrace the Story is how to observe an old movie. The historical characters and the actors are considered eternally contemporaries. In this way we perpetuate the memory of them. Passing from the cinema to the theater to the television, from the Comedy to the Drama - always with best resulted - Aroldo Tieri is among the largest italian actors of every epoch. Began to the cinema in 1939 in 1000 Km al minuto, directed by Mario Mattoli, one of the better italian cinema artisan, director of many movies with Totò (Antonio de Curtis).
Interpret in beyond hundred film, he contributed to the film season of the italian comedy, of whom it follows the whole parable: from the first films in the 50's to the end of the 60's. To list the names of those who gave back it possible would serve varied pages, because near to the large names is necessary to add, to equal merit, all of the character actors that allowed to the protagonists to bring out the value of their interpretative quality. For who grew in the Italy of the 80's with the revival of the films with Totò, of Aroldo Tieri will not forget ever the interpretations in roles of so-called "shoulder", that he personalized differentiating from the common typology, that is to follow the protagonist, if not unequivocally "to undergo it" the performance. In the movies with Totò and, even more, in those in which there was also Peppino De Filippo, his presence and the manner in which represented the character assigned, contributed to realize exemplary stages.
In Letto a tre piazze (1960), Tieri is in the part of a lawyer, that should resolve a complex matter, when Antonio (Totò), considered "missing" in Russia during the Second World War, returns at home twenty years after and finds the wife Amalia (Nadia Gray) married with a teacher (Peppino De Filippo). The lawyer, called in help from the lady, confronts for first the event. The story of the epic lived from Antonio, and the little conviction of Peppino, become the main motive of the stage and everyone of three, without to subtract space to the other, succeeds to make to emerge his character. Totò is thrown in a story with surprising geopolitical implications. Peppino, like in the style tested of the couple, is attentive to reorganize, with irony, those hyperboles arrived from some angle of the mind of Antonio De Curtis. In this mechanism, Aroldo Tieri, like an arbiter of the dispute, confer to the stage (plane sequence of 7'50'') a different face from the traditional sketch.
In Chi si ferma è perduto (1961), Tieri is surveyor of a firm of transportations, sent off to Naples to establish who have to be the new head of that branch. The candidates for the role are the two most elderly employees, Totò and Peppino. From that moment, everyone of two search of to discredit the colleague to obtain the promotion. Since the arrival of the inspector at the station, where Totò, for a case of homonymy, welcomes the wrong person and the next day discusses in awful manner the right one. In a weathercock of misunderstandings, the inspector will end to discourage both the candidates. But on the occasion of a business receiving he meets the wife of Peppino, with that much years before had had a love affair... To the end, all is concluded in a chaos to the inside of a hotel, according to the tradition of the italian comedy.
The trio has a variation in La cambiale (1959), where instead of Peppino there is Macario. Here Tieri is in the part of a financial speculator from that bring themselves Macario, for the compensation of a road accident and, Totò that would have to be a kind of legal consultant. The stage, to beginning film, is very amusing, with Tieri in the explanation of the benefits of the bill of exchange and then in a multiple telephone call, in which naturally the other two introduce themselves. The debut of Tieri next to the couple Totò and Peppino was in 1958, in Totò, Peppino e le fanatiche. In the second half of the 50's the two reached the peak of the comicality, even if this film could seem a step back respect to the standard.
Depends from the plot, that runs telling singularly their characters. So the stages of Totò-Peppino-Tieri work better than those of the couple and Tieri in some moments driver seems the stage, to its comfort in the role of a psychiatrist to the taken with the two special "patients", that to the end will make dismiss, hospitalize their relatives. Only with Totò, he works in a lot of movies: Totò cerca casa (1949); Totò cerca moglie (1950); Totò e i re di Roma (1951); Totò sceicco (1951); Totò terzo uomo (1951); Lo smemorato di Collegno (1962). Out of category Gli onorevoli (1963) where alternate, without to converge, varied events - one with protagonist Tieri - centered on the vicissitudes of some characters candidates during an election campaign.
In the 60's he's interpreter in some parodies western and in someone of the first film of couple Franco Franco and Ciccio Ingrassia, where it's applied the same diagram already tested with Totò-Peppino. Tieri participates also to some musicarelli (movies with famous italian singers), with Mina (Mina... fuori la guardia!, 1961), Gianni Morandi (Non sono degno di te, 1965; Se non avessi più te, 1965), Rita Pavone (La feldmarescialla, 1967). The first one had been Juke box urli d'amore (1960) next to Mario Carotenuto, other popular supporting actor of the italian cinema from the second postwar period to the 80's. They recited together also in Gli eroi dei doppio gioco (1962), that satirized on the tendency to the typical transformism of a certain italian subculture. The film is part of a curious variant, in key of comedy, of a genre that in the early of 60's described - with best resulted by directors among which Florestano Vancini and Roberto Rossellini - situations and characters of the Italy in the Second world conflict.
Aroldo Tieri has given a great example of performance in I sogni muoiono all'alba, in origin a theatrical text, written and directed by Indro Montanelli (together to Mario Craveri and Enrico Gras). The event is developed during the night between November 3-4, 1956, when was decided the invasion of the Hungary, risen up against the Soviets. In a hotel, five italian journalists, of varied political tendency, await the conclusion of the negotiation. He is in the part of the correspondent of a leftist newspaper. Even if he quarrels with an its opposite colleague to the invasion, living persons a deep crisis of conscience, because being a former partisan picks in the Hungarian citizens, that defend the independence, those same values for that he, little first years, had fought. The characters are described with acuteness, to the point that can be unfastened from that historical context and carried in the actuality. Tieri, particularly, confer to its an unforgettable intensity.
Like other actors, in the 60's works also in television in representations of prose (ex. La foresta pietrificata, by Robert E. Sherwood) and in the variety (Canzonissima, 1960). The theatrical activity, interrupted in 1999 after L'amante inglese, by Marguerite Duras, was characterized from harshness and coherence towards an environment to that however, in the last years, scolded the outside ecessive interest of logics verse compliance to its nature. It did not be able to be otherwise for who contributed to the story of the italian theater of the last fifty years, together with Enrico Maria Salerno, Salvo Randone, Alberto Lionello, Vittorio Gassman: the colleagues that more estimated. In 2005 to the Casa dei Teatri, in Roma, it was prepared a exhibition in four sections (theater, cinema, outside stage, television). If his interpretations in Il calapranzi, by Harold Pinter, and Un caso clinico by Dino Buzzati are transmitted again, has been a large tribute to his memory and to the public.
To the theater he had arrived with naturalness. The father, Vincenzo, was theatrical author, beyond that journalist and later on directing political, elected to the Constituent Assembly of the 1946 in the list of the Movement "Uomo Qualunque". ("Every day I seek he and the meeting in the memory. He was a person of large moral level, a shining intellectual and refined"). After the transfer in Rome from the Calabria, Aroldo Tieri attended the Dramatic Academy of Art, graduating with a test on "Francesca da Rimini" di Gabriele D'Annunzio.
In 1938 enters in the company of the Teatro Eliseo, in Rome, and works with Paolo Stoppa, Gino Cervi, Rina Morelli. He recited with large actresses, among which Anna Proclemer, Lea Padovani, Rossella Falk, Anna Magnani. Until the meeting with Giuliana Lojodice, decisive for his professional career and the private life. In 1965 establishes the Tieri-Lojodice theatrical company that in the following years presents works of Shakespeare, Shaw, Pirandello.
«The half of the years of my theatrical activity were, for the large work realized always together, dedicated to Giuliana. It's my sincere and submissive thanks for the intelligence with that she was near me, for the tenacity with that knew to dissolve my doubts and my uncertainties, for the humility with that wanted to live and to work next to a difficult man and always dissatisfied of himself.»
The research center of Foundation "Teatro Stabile di Torino" introduced this article on Aroldo Tieri between the documentation to him relevant in their library.
The contemporary Greece (1974-2006)
by Rudy Caparrini, Vincenzo Greco, Ninni Radicini
preface by Antonio Ferrari, "Corriere della Sera" journalist, corresponding from Athens
publishing house: Polistampa, 2007 * The book is in italian version only