Aroldo Tieri: in memory of an Actor from another Era

by Ninni Radicini

Aroldo Tieri with Peppino De Filippo and Totò back in a scene from the movie Chi si ferma è perduto directed in 1961 by Sergio Corbucci
Aroldo Tieri with Peppino De Filippo and Totò
"Chi si ferma è perduto" (1961)
Aroldo Tieri and Giuliana Lojodice in the theatrical representation Non ti conosco più (1969) with the direction of Aldo De Benedetti
Aroldo Tieri and Giuliana Lojodice
"Non ti conosco più" (1969)

Aroldo Tieri can be considered among the greatest Italian actors: from cinematography to theatrical prose to TV shows - from Comedy to Drama - always with excellent results. His debut as an actor took place in 1939, in the movie "1000 Km al minuto", by Mario Mattoli, director of numerous movies with Totò (the character created by Antonio de Curtis). In the movies with Totò, Aroldo Tieri plays roles defined as "support". This role requires that the actor should have simply supported the acting of the protagonist. Aroldo Tieri instead personalizes his role, so that his character didn't seem secondary compared to the main actor. Thanks to his particular ability in acting, in comedies with Totò and, even more, in those with the couple Totò and Peppino De Filippo, Tieri, with his presence, contributed to creating exemplary scenes.

In the movie "Letto a tre piazze" (1960), directed by Steno (Stefano Vanzina), Aroldo Tieri plays a lawyer committed to finding a solution to a complicated problem: Antonio (Totò), declared officially missing during the Second World War, returns home after twenty years and finds his wife, Amalia (Nadia Gray) married, in second marriage, with a teacher (Peppino De Filippo). The scene is centered on the story of the adventures of Antonio in Russia, while Peppino does not believe what is narrated by Antonio. Each of the three actors - Totò, Peppino De Filippo, Aroldo Tieri - highlights his character in a complementary way. Totò develops a story with surprising geopolitical implications. Peppino, on the other hand, ironizes on those narrative hyperboles that came from the mind of Antonio de Curtis. Aroldo Tieri enters this mechanism, acting as referee, and gives the scene (long take 7'50'') a particular physiognomy compared to similar scenes.

In the movie "Chi si ferma è perduto" (1961), directed by Sergio Corbucci, Aroldo Tieri plays an inspector of a transport company, sent to Naples to determine who should be appointed at the top of the local office. When the inspector arrives at the station, Totò, for a misunderstanding, will welcome another person (who has the same name). In a whirlwind of misunderstandings, the inspector will end up having no more confidence in either of the two senior employees. But on the occasion of a company reception he meets Peppino's wife, with whom he had had a relationship many years before... The story ends in an hubbub in a hotel, with one of the typical methods of Italian comedy.

The trio has a variation in the initial sequence of the movie "La cambiale" (1959), directed by Camillo Mastrocinque, with the actor Macario paired with Totò. Aroldo Tieri plays a financial speculator, who must compensate Macario for a traffic accident. Macario is accompanied by Totò, in the role of a singular legal consultant. The scene is very funny. Aroldo Tieri ventures into explaining the benefits of the promissory note and then into a multiple telephone conversation, which includes Totò and Macario.

The debut of Aroldo Tieri alongside the couple Totò and Peppino took place in 1958, in the movie "Totò, Peppino e le fanatiche", directed by Mario Mattoli. Totò and Peppino reached the top of their comic acting in the second half of the 1950s, although this movie might seem a step backwards. This appearance depends on the plot of the movie, which flows narrating the narrative paths of their characters individually. So the scenes of Totò-Peppino-Tieri work better than those of the couple and Aroldo Tieri, in some moments, seems to lead the scene. Tieri plays a psychiatrist who has to take care of the characters played by Totò and Peppino De Filippo. In conclusion, the psychiatrist resigns Totò and Peppino and decided to hospitalize their wives and their son and daughter in the clinic.

Aroldo Tieri and Totò act together in numerous movies: "Totò cerca casa" (1949), directed by Mario Monicelli and Steno; "Totò cerca moglie" (1950), directed by Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia; "Totò e i re di Roma" (1951), directed by Mario Monicelli and Steno; "Totò sceicco" (1951), directed by Mario Mattoli; "Totò terzo uomo" (1951), directed by Mario Mattoli; "Lo smemorato di Collegno" (1962), directed by Sergio Corbucci. They are also in the movie "Gli Onorevoli" (1963), directed by Sergio Corbucci, in which, however, each one follows his own narrative line. The movie alternates, without converging, various events - including one with the protagonist Aroldo Tieri and another with Totò - focused on the vicissitudes of some political candidates during an election campaign in Italy.

In the 60s, Aroldo Tieri plays in some movies that are the parody of western movies. Also plays in some early movies by Franco Franchi and Ciccio Ingrassia (the famous Sicilian comedian couple). He also takes part in some so-called "musicarelli" movies. These movies feature famous Italian singers and often the title of the movie is the same as that of their famous songs in Italy). Movies with Mina ("Mina... fuori la guardia!", 1961) directed by Armando Tamburella, Gianni Morandi ("Non sono degno di te", 1965; "Se non avessi più te", 1965, both with the direction of Ettore Maria Fizzarotti), Rita Pavone ("La feldmarescialla", 1967, directed by Steno).

The first movie was "Juke box urli d'amore" (1959), directed by Mauro Morassi, with Mario Carotenuto, one of the best "characterists" (actors not protagonists but with a presence highlighted in the acting) of Italian cinema from the post-war period to the 80s. Aroldo Tieri is with him in the movie "Gli eroi del doppio gioco" (1962), which joked about the tendency to political "transformism", typical of a certain Italian subculture ("transformism" in the sense of always wanting to be on the winner's side). This movie is part of a curious variant, in a comedy key, of the kind that in the early 1960s described - with excellent results, thanks to directors such as Florestano Vancini and Roberto Rossellini - situations and characters of Italy in full Second world War.

Aroldo Tieri gave a great acting performance in the movie "I sogni muoiono all'alba", directed by Mario Craveri and Enrico Gras, already a theatrical text written and directed by Indro Montanelli. The story takes place on the night between 3 and 4 November 1956, when the invasion of Hungary was decided, against the Soviets. In a hotel, five Italian journalists, of various political tendencies, await the conclusion of the negotiation. Aroldo Tieri plays an Italian journalist for a left-wing newspaper. While clashing with one of his colleagues, who is against invasion, he has a profound crisis of conscience. He - the character played by Aroldo Tieri - was an Italian partisan during the Second World War and is aware that the Hungarian citizens - defenders of their independence - have the same ideals for which he fought. The characters are described in a very acute way, so that they can be unhooked from that precise historical context and brought to the present. Aroldo Tieri, in particular, gives his depth a depth that is not forgotten.

Like other actors, Aroldo Tieri, in the Sixties, also worked in Italian Television, both in prose representations (including the theatrical drama "The Petrified Forest", by Robert E. Sherwood) and in the "Varieties" (for example "Canzonissima", 1960), Television show composed of music, dances, famous guests, comedy sketches. The theatrical activity of Aroldo Tieri was interrupted in 1999, after the representation of the novel "L'Amante anglaise" by Marguerite Duras. It was carried out in the sign of professional rigor and consistency towards an environment to which, however, in recent years, he reproached the excessive condescension towards logics of interest extraneous to his nature. It could not have been otherwise for him, who contributed to the history of Italian theater in the second half of the twentieth century, together with Enrico Maria Salerno, Salvo Randone, Alberto Lionello, Vittorio Gassman, to whom he had great respect.

Aroldo Tieri arrived at theatrical acting in a natural way. His father, Vincenzo, was a theatrical author and journalist, and, later, a political leader, in 1946 elected Member of the Constituent Assembly (parliamentary Assembly which was to draft the Constitution of the Italian Republic) on the list of the Common Man's Front (it. Fronte dell'Uomo Qualunque), political movement founded by Guglielmo Giannini, that had many electoral consents in Southern Italy. Aroldo Tieri said about his father: «Every day I look for him and meet him in my memory. He was a person of great moral level, a lucid and refined intellectual».

After moving from Calabria to Rome, Aroldo Tieri attended the Academy of Dramatic Arts and graduated with an theatrical test on "Francesca da Rimini", by Gabriele D'Annunzio (writer, poet, prominent personality in Italian politics in the early decades of the twentieth century). In 1938 Tieri joined the company of the Teatro Eliseo in Rome, which included Paolo Stoppa, Gino Cervi, Rina Morelli. He has acted with great actresses, including Anna Proclemer, Lea Padovani, Rossella Falk, Anna Magnani, up to the meeting with Giuliana Lojodice, decisive for her professional and private life. In 1965 he formed the theatrical company Tieri-Lojodice, which in the following years staged texts by authors including William Shakespeare, George Bernard Shaw, Luigi Pirandello.

«Half of the years of my theatrical activity were, thanks to the great work always done in common, dedicated to Giuliana. It is my thanks, sincere and subdued, for the cleverness with which she was close to me, for the tenacity with whom he was able to dissolve my doubts and my uncertainties, for the humility with which he wanted to live and work alongside a difficult and always unhappy man».

The Trinacria is Symbol of the convergence of Sicily with Greek and Norman History and Culture Ninni Radicini (Sicily) has written and published articles on Greece and Germany (political-electoral-historical area). Articles on other topics have been published on various periodicals. He also published reviews and book prefaces. Co-author of the book Contemporary Greece 1974-2006 (La Grecia contemporanea 1974-2006) (book only in Italian edition).

  Planet of the Apes 1968 | 2018
In 1968, in cinemas arrives Planet of the Apes, whose narrative development is such as to rise above the science fiction genre to which it is ascribed. It is derived from the novel La Planète des singes, by the French writer Pierre Boulle, published in 1963.
Review by Ninni Radicini

Maria Callas: From the stage of the Opera, a modern legend
In the recurrence of forty years after the death of Maria Callas (Maria Anna Sofia Cecilia Kalogeropoulos, New York City, 02 December 1923 - Paris, 16 September 1977), an exhibition in Greece, in Athens, at the B&M Theocharakis Foundation, celebrates her relevance as a personality in the history and culture of the Twentieth century.
Article by Ninni Radicini

From the loser's side. Eine Geschichte im Fluß der Erinnerungen (Novel by Nidia Robba)
Wirtschaftswunder, the economic miracle that has characterized the contemporary history of Germany and in general of the German area (including Austria) starts from the early 50s, having its prodrome at the end of the previous decade when, immediately after the conclusion of the Second World War, the German people had to start reconstruction.
«The road to infinity» (Preface by Ninni Radicini)

13 August 1978 - The first podium of Gilles Villeneuve in the F1 world championship

Page by Ninni Radicini

Home page