Very sad news, R.I.P. Luciano Martino. one of the key producers working in Italian cinema in the 1960s and 70s and, among other things, was instrumental in the evolution of the giallo genre: he was a long time advocate of the genre for some years even before he had his first major success with the format in The Sweet Body of Deborah.
Here’s a translation of the obituary from Repubblica.
ROME – Today in Kenya the film producer and director Luciano Martino was reported to have died. Born in Rome, he would have been 80 in December. His name is primarily associated with a substantial filmography in the sixties and seventies that went from the peplum to thrillers to sexy comedies, during the course of which he launched actors like Lino Banfi, sexy icons such as Barbara Bouchet and Gloria Guida and can be said to have ‘invented’ the phenomenon that was Edwige Fenech, the actress who was also his partner for many years.
“Luciano”, said his brother Sergio, “he loved being in Malindi, even though he was afflicted by a bad illness. Yesterday evening he was fine, except for a low-grade fever, he had dinner with some friends. Tonight he was hit by a lung seizure and died during the flight to Nairobi. Maybe he has gone the way he wanted. ”
Luciano Martino’s career in film began as a writer in the mid-fifties. His vivid imagination enabled him to write scripts and screenplays for films that had as protagonists spies, cowboys, adventurers of all sorts and classical heroes, from Maciste in Buffalo Bill.
As a director he signed his first film in 1965 (Le spie uccidono a Beirut) and made among others, La vergine, il toro e il capricorno in 1977 with Alberto Lionello and Edwige Fenech, sexy star of comedies at the time.
Much wider was his activity as a producer and writer. Alongside his brother Sergio he was among the ‘founders’ of the so-called B movie, having great success with sexy comedies, in particular a series of titles such as Quel gran pezzo dell’Ubalda tutta nuda e tutta calda, Giovannona coscialunga disonorata con onore, the series of L’insegnante, Cornetti alla crema, but also Occhio, malocchio prezzemolo e finocchio, L’abbuffata and the sequel to L’allenatore nel pallone.
In the eighties, when the film industry began to decline, Martino moved towards producing TV drama series such as Turbo, as well as the TV movie Segreto di stato by Giuseppe Ferrara. In 1987 he was responsible, among other things for the début of the then unknown Nicole Kidman, who Martino chose for the TV movie Un’australiana a Roma.
Edwige Fenech said: “I’m so sad, it is a life of respect that is gone today. We were united, as it has been part of my life. I’m So saddened that I can hardly speak of him now.”
Lino Banfi remembers him fondly: “I owe him so much: we have travelled a long road together, we made over 40 films which he produced and which were largely directed by his brother Sergio.”