With a career spanning over six decades, producer Dino De Laurentiis had an undeniable impact on world cinema. He helped create award-winning films, major blockbusters, cult classics, and even some spectacular failures, but such is to be expected when your resume includes more than 150 production credits. Early in his career, De Laurentiis produced some of the greatest films in his native Italy’s history, including Giuseppe De Santis’ Bitter Rice (1949) and Fellini’s La Strada (1954), which won De Laurentiis an Oscar. In the process, he also helped to rebuild the Italian film industry after the disastrous effects of WWII.
After contributing to the landscape of Italian cinema, he went to America to establish his legacy. He produced a vast catalog of films, including a mixture of critical and commercial successes. De Laurentiis impressed critics with Serpico (1973) and Blue Velvet (1986), and packed theaters with Death Wish (1974) and Conan the Barbarian (1982).
Now, a year since his passing, his memory is honored with a screening of The Great War (La grande guerra), De Laurentiis’ 1959 Italian classic directed by Mario Monicelli. Nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award, it offers a humorous but gritty take on life in the trenches of World War I.
Image courtesy of the Kobal Collection