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General Information => Sergio Leone News => Topic started by: cigar joe on December 04, 2004, 07:31:09 AM

Title: About Time Huh?
Post by: cigar joe on December 04, 2004, 07:31:09 AM
ASC honors Italo lenser
Neorealist pioneer Delli Colli worked on over 130 pix



Delli Colli

Italian cinematographer Tonino Delli Colli, best known for collaborating with Sergio Leone, will receive the American Society of Cinematographers' international achievement award.
Delli Colli helped pioneer neorealist cinema after WWII and earned over 130 cinematography credits between 1944 and 1997. The Ministry of Performing Arts in Italy has presented the David di Donatello Award to Delli Colli four times, and his award-winning films include "The Name of the Rose," "Once Upon a Time in America," "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" and "Life Is Beautiful."

Kudos will be presented to Delli Colli during the 19th annual ASCASC Outstanding Achievement Awards at the Century Plaza Feb. 20. Past recipients include Freddie Young, Jack Cardiff, Gabriel Figueroa, Henri Alekan, Raoul Coutard, Freddie Francis, Giuseppe Rotunno, Oswald Morris, Billy Williams, Douglas Slocombe, Witold Sobocinski and Miroslav Ondricek.

"Tonino Delli Colli is one of our great artists and it's high time he was singled out for recognition," said ASC president Richard Crudo.

Date in print: Thurs., Dec. 2, 2004, Los Angeles
Title: Re:About Time Huh?
Post by: Belkin on December 04, 2004, 08:09:21 AM
Good news indeed.  :D
Title: Re:About Time Huh?
Post by: DJIMBO on December 04, 2004, 08:22:30 AM
Toto a Colori, or Toto in Color, which was shot and directed by Delli Colli, was the first colour film to come out of Italy, so i read on truly groundbreaking. He's one of those in Leone's films, along with Eastwood and Morricone, who are partly resposnible for leone's success.
Title: Re:About Time Huh?
Post by: cigar joe on December 04, 2004, 08:34:46 AM
I agree he's part of the equasion along with Carlo Simi too.
Title: Re:About Time Huh?
Post by: DJIMBO on December 04, 2004, 08:43:58 AM
simi! of course, how could i forget that arch in OUATITW! Incredible, right out of Latin culture.
Title: Re:About Time Huh?
Post by: Tekker on December 07, 2004, 04:39:50 AM
Isn't Tonino Delli Colli interviewed on the "Once apon a time in the west" SE?
I think he is, and he is quite a symphatic caracter.

Well deserved, indeed.
Title: Re:About Time Huh? Delli Colli speaks!
Post by: cigar joe on December 12, 2004, 07:55:51 AM
More good stuff from Tom B. on the SW board.

Tonino Delli Colli to receive ASC Int. Achievement Award
Sat Dec 11, 2004 11:05am

Tonino Delli Colli Will Receive ASC International Achievement Award

Dec 1, 2004 2:55 PM

Los Angeles--Tonino Delli Colli, AIC, will receive the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) International Achievement Award which is presented annually to an individual whose body of work has made an enduring impact on the global art form. The award will be presented to Delli Colli during the 19th Annual ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards here at the Century Plaza Hotel on Feb. 20, 2005.

Delli Colli was in the front ranks of a new generation of cinematographers who pioneered neorealist cinema after World War II. He earned over 130 cinematography credits between 1944 and 1997. The Ministry of Performing Arts in Italy has presented the prestigious annual David di Donatello Award to Delli Colli four times. He has also earned six top cinematography awards from the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists.


"Tonino Delli Colli is one of our great artists and it's high time he was singled out for recognition," says ASC president Richard Crudo. "Throughout his career he has been incredibly courageous and imaginative in exploring new possibilities for cinematographers. He is an inspiration to all of us, all over the world."

Past recipients of the ASC International Achievement Award include Freddie Young, BSC, Jack Cardiff, BSC, Gabriel Figueroa, AMC, Henri Alekan, Raoul Coutard, Freddie Francis, BSC, Giuseppe Rotunno, ASC, AIC, Oswald Morris, BSC, Billy Williams, BSC, Douglas Slocombe, BSC, Witold Sobocinski, PSC, and Miroslav Ondricek, ASC, ACK.

Delli Colli was born in Rome in 1923, where his father worked for a film lab. After Delli Colli graduated from junior high school his father instructed him to find a job. "It was for economic reasons and because I wasn't studious," Delli Colli says.

About a year after it opened, Cinecitta Studios hired a young Delli Colli in 1938. "They asked me if I wanted to work in the sound department or with the cameramen," Delli Colli recalls. "I said with the cameramen even though I knew nothing about what that meant. I knew absolutely nothing about filmmaking. I had no idea that those few words would determine the course of my life. I learned my trade by watching what the professionals were doing and valuing the advice they gave me. There was also a natural instinct that I can't explain, because it's not a tangible thing. It's just a part of me."

His mentors have included cinematographers Mario Albertelli, Ubaldo Arata, and Anchise Brizzi. He was an assistant on Albertelli's crew ("He was like a father to me"), and a camera operator for Arata and Brizzi. Delli Colli earned his first credit in 1944 for FINALMENTE SI! (FINALLY YES!).

He observes that neorealism was a child born of necessity in post-war Italy, when black-and-white films were being produced on minimal budgets at practical locations.

"They were all dramatic, unhappy stories about post-war life," he says. "The defining characteristic of those films was that they were filmed in real environments, partially because the Cinecitta Studio was filled with displaced persons. We used ambient light and what came through the windows as the starting point for our cinematography."

Delli Colli was under contract to shoot five films a year for Carlo Ponti and Dino De Laurentiis during the early 1950s. That's how he happened to shoot TOTO A COLORI (TOTO IN COLOR), Italy's first color film in 1952. He recalls that the film had an exposure index of six.

"No one else wanted to do it," he recalls, "but they told me I had no choice, because I was under contract. Poor Toto [Antonio Scannagatti]! He had problems with his eyes and we had to use an avalanche of light. As soon as the director called cut, he ran off the stage to get away from that inferno."

Delli Colli says that the transition to color film required development of new types of lighting equipment and investments by labs in processing and equipment. It also affected basic concepts for costume and production design and even a rethinking of story concepts.

"There is no doubt the cinema has gained something from the advent of color," he says, "but I think it also lost a lot. Black and white made it possible to create unique atmospheres."

By the late 1950s, Delli Colli was shooting Italian-American projects. He was working on THE WONDERS OF ALADDIN in 1960, when he heard that a promising new director named Pier Paolo Pasolini was preparing to shoot his first film. When Delli Colli sent word that he was interested, they told him he was too expensive.

"I told them to pay me whatever they could," he says. "I believe it was fate, because that day completely changed my career. I did 12 films with him in 15 years [ACCATTONE, THE DECAMERON, MAMMA ROMA, and THE CANTERBURY TALES]. Pasolini respected everyone on the set. He assembled a great group of artists, including [production designer] Dante Ferretti and [costume designer] Danilo Donati."

Delli Colli met Sergio Leone during the early 1960s when he helped the young director find a producer who financed his film. They subsequently collaborated on THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY, ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, and ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA.

"He was a meticulous artist, who paid attention to everything he did, right down to the smallest details," Delli Colli says. "He wanted me to light long shots so the audience could see details on screens of all sizes. He wanted them to see individual hairs in each character's beard as well as their eyes. That's one reason why his three-hour films passed quickly for the audience."

Delli Colli says that Federico Fellini was "fairly easy to work with ... you just had to get to know him. He had the habit of changing things at the last moment. Fellini never worked with notes or a script. He invented everything on the spot. We shot everything for THE VOICE OF THE MOON in the dark of night. For a scene that was supposed to be lit by fireflies, I had tiny lamps made and suspended them from fishing rods dancing in front of the lens. In THE NAME OF THE ROSE, the only artificial light came from candles, torches and lanterns. I intensified lighting with tiny lamps hidden in fake candles. It was painstaking work that grew out of intuition."

Delli Colli concludes, "The great actor Marcello Mastroianni always said that he was lucky because he had the best job in the world. I share that feeling with him. I've met great professionals who have allowed me to express myself as best I can through images. If anyone asks me about my films, and how I created them technically, I always tell them to watch them again because everything is right there. The magic of film can't be put into words."

Owen Roizman, ASC, chairman of the organization's awards committee says, "Tonino Delli Colli has earned the esteem of our members who are uniquely qualified to appreciate the artistry of other cinematographers. They recognize the power of subtle nuances in his images that are meant to be transparent to audiences. He has compiled a remarkable body of work that has stood the test of time. I am looking forward to this celebration of his artistry."

The ASC was formed in 1919 when the Cinema Club of New York and the Static Club of Los Angeles merged. Their primary purpose was to provide a forum where the first generation of cinematographers could meet to discuss ideas for advancing the art and craft of filmmaking. There are currently some 275 active ASC members today with roots in many different countries, and 140 associate members who work in ancillary sectors of the industry that support the art and craft of cinematography.

For information about the 19th Annual ASC Outstanding Achievement Award, visit the ASC website at or call (323) 969-4333.

Title: Re: About Time Huh?
Post by: cigar joe on November 15, 2006, 04:41:10 AM
Some neat stuff from Delli Colli,

In the 1960s, Delli Colli began his working relationship with Sergio Leone, a collaboration that would bring him his greatest fame in the United States. Leone and Delli Colli reimagined the Westerns of John Ford and Howard Hawks, taking genre films to the level of art through glacial but tense pacing; innovative sound design; fresh, minimalist dialogue; and, above all, obsessive and almost exclusive use of extreme close-ups and very wide shots. The results were dubbed “spaghetti Westerns.” The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) was reportedly made for $250,000 and was a box-office blockbuster. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) had a bigger budget, and Henry Fonda was cast against type as a ruthless villain.

“Sergio was a skinny kid who was working as an assistant to Bonnard,” recalls Delli Colli. “After Bonnard died, Sergio finished the shooting of The Last Days of Pompeii, and then directed The Colossus of Rhodes. Sergio came to Spain, where I was making a [Luis García] Berlanga film called El Verdugo [The Executioner, also known as Not on Your Life] with Nino Manfredi. It was 1963, and he was looking for money from our producer, the former goalie of the Real Madrid [soccer team], who in turn was being financed by a pharmaceutical company. He had the idea of making a film about the eagles of Rome, but there wasn’t a cent to be had.

“Back in Rome one night, Sergio took me to see Kurosawa’s Yojimbo. He told me it was a good idea for a low-budget Western. That was true, because all the action took place in one little town, and little towns like that were still around in Spain. So I helped him find the producer, but I had no plans to make the film myself because I couldn’t work for nothing.”

Later, Delli Colli heard that there were near riots at Rome’s Supercinema because crowds were trying to get in to see A Fistful of Dollars (1964). The surprise international hit kick-started Leone’s career. “Sergio was a real go-getter, a very meticulous artist who paid attention to everything he did, right down to the smallest details,” says Delli Colli. “For the images, he asked for things that were truly effective: full light for long shots because he wanted the details to be visible on screens of all sizes, and close-ups with the individual hairs of the characters’ beards visible. It was impossible in Spain — he wanted deep, long shadows, the deepest and longest we could get, and the [sun went] down late. On the set, we prepared in the morning, and then we just died waiting for the right light. I did everything I could to accommodate him within the limits of what was possible. And then there were the details! He wanted to shoot the actors’ eyes in every scene. I told him we could shoot 100 meters of eyes — looking here, looking there — and then use them whenever he wanted. But he wasn’t having any of that. And that’s how it went for the entire shoot. But his three-hour films pass quickly [when you watch them]. A three-hour film made today is a chore to sit through.”

Delli Colli’s collaboration with Leone reached its apogee with Once Upon a Time in America (1984), a sweeping gangster epic that earned acclaim at Cannes but was radically cut down in the editing room by its U.S. distributor. Leone’s original cut received a few special screenings in the States and only recently became available on home video. “Once Upon a Time in America was a long film because there were a lot of interruptions [during production], thanks to Sergio’s meticulousness and his desire to make a film that would be unique in its genre,” says Delli Colli. “First, we couldn’t find the right actors because he had specific types in mind, but we kept looking. Even though he couldn’t speak a single word of English, he was able to make himself understood by using French, always with a smile on his lips. The American actors loved working with him. The interiors were shot in Rome, at the De Paolis Studios, and the exteriors were shot in a Puerto Rican neighborhood in New York. It was the sets that inspired my choices in terms of the cinematography. The story is a complex one, but when you see the film, you understand that it was worth the trouble. It displays all of Sergio’s artistry.”

read the whole thing here:
Title: Re: About Time Huh?
Post by: Tucos wife on November 17, 2006, 07:54:33 AM
It's too bad he passed away last year.  I love how the GBU was shot in Techniscope. It made the whole film.

2-Perf or Techniscope is a 35 mm motion picture camera film format first introduced by Technicolor Italia in 1963[1]. Techniscope is distinguished by a negative pulldown using just two perforations worth of film per frame instead of the four (as with standard 35 mm film, the 2-perf negative has a natural aspect ratio of 2.33:1, easily cropped to the widescreen/anamorphic ratio of 2.35:1[2] while utilizing half the amount of film and standard spherical lenses.

As the format is half the size of standard 35 mm film, release prints are made by anamorphosizing the frame and blowing up (enlarging) each frame up by a factor of two.

Title: Re: About Time Huh?
Post by: cigar joe on November 17, 2006, 03:49:13 PM
yea its pretty cool.

We had a topic about this a while ago but here is a good link for all interested: