Sophia Loren (1934-) 'Toto in Color', 1952 'Il Mostro', 1994 'Life Is Beautiful', 1997

TLW's Italian Cinemascope™ (Italian Cinema Historyscope)

By T.L. Winslow (TLW), the Historyscoper™

© Copyright by T.L. Winslow. All Rights Reserved.

Original Pub. Date: Dec. 3, 2016. Last Update: Jan. 31, 2019.

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What Is A Historyscope?

Westerners are not only known as history ignoramuses, but double dumbass history ignoramuses when it comes to Italian cinema history. Since I'm the one-and-only Historyscoper (tm), let me quickly bring you up to speed before you dive into my Master Historyscope.

Sophia Loren (1934-)

On Nov. 8, 1951 Mervyn LeRoy's Quo Vadis (Lat. "Where are you going?") (MGM) debuts, based on the 1896 novel about Nero by Henryk Siekiewicz, starring Robert Taylor, Deborah Kerr, and Peter Ustinov, and is the major film debut of Sophia Loren (Sofia Scicolone) (1934-), who has a role (under the name Sofia Lazzaro) with her mother as extras playing Deborah Kerr's slaves; she then gets work as slave girls and maidens B-films, saying "I'm not ashamed of my bare-bottomed beginnings", after which Italian producer Geoffredo Lombardo gives her a stage name after Swedish actress Marta Toren; does $21M box office on a $7.6M budget.

'Toto in Color', 1952

In 1952 Steno's Toto in Color (Totò a Colori) debuts, becoming the first Italian color movie, using the Ferraniacolor system, starring Italian #1 actor Toto (Totò) (Prince Antonio Griffo Focas Flavio Angelo Ducas Comneno Porfirogenito Gagliardi De Curtis di Bisanzio) (1898-1967) as failed musician Antonio Scannagtti, who seeks his fortune in Naples; Toto's masterpiece?

'Baron Blood', 1972

On Feb. 25, 1972 Mario Bava's Baron Blood (Jumbo Cinematograica) debuts, starring Joseph Cotten as Baron Otto von Kleist, a notorious sadistic mass murderer, whose great-grandson Peter Kleist (Antonio Cantafora) visits his old castle to see if the legend that he will rise from the dead is true; Elke Sommer plays Eva Arnold; "Behind dank walls a nightmare world of horror and butchery awaits as a rotitng corpse crawls from the Earth to terrify the living... Beware of Baron Blood... He earned his name through torture and death. The screams of his victims still echo in his chamber of horrors" "He returns to avenge a witch's curse and reclaim his empire of evil"; does £269.812M box office; watch trailer.

'Il Mostro', 1994

On Oct. 22, 1994 Roberto Benigni's Il Mostro (The Monster) debuts, about Loris, a man mistaken by police for a serial killer; becoming the highest-grossing film in Italy until his "Life Is Beautiful" (1997).

'Life Is Beautiful', 1997

On Dec. 20, 1997 Roberto Benigni's Life Is Beautiful (Cecchi Gori Group) (Miramax Films) debuts, starring Benigni as Jewish Italian man Guido Orefice, who is forced into a concentration camp by the Nazis in WWII, and tries to convince his son Giosue that he is in a safe but complex game; does $229.2M box office on a $20M budget.

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