Vittorio Cottafavi

Vittorio Cottafavi (b. 1914, Modena; d. 1998, Rome) studied law before entering the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, Rome, where he graduated in 1938. His directorial debut was Our Dreams (1943) based on a Ugo Betti comedy, followed by La fiamma non si spegne (1949) and Traviata (1953), two mythical history films, and collaboration with the actors Gian Maria Volonté and Enrico Maria Salerno. His primary genre was melodrama; his treatment of subjects was out of the ordinary. But even his sword-and-sandal films, like The Warrior and the Slave Girl (1958) and Hercules and the Conquest of Atlantis (1961), showed he could handle historical epics. Though a box office flop, 100 Horsemen (1964), filmed in France, is now considered his best film. His later TV miniseries of theater and literary adaptations were hugely successful: Maria Zeff, A Doll’s House, Vita di Dante. Jointly with Renato Rascel he made I racconti di padre Brown (1970) one of the best loved series in the history of RAI.

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