More sad news, the hugely influential Italian scriptwriter Furio Scarpelli has died. Scarpelli was best known for his comedy films, mainly written in collaboration with Agenore Incrocci – I’ve reviewed a few of them, such as Toto tarzan and Mafioso), but he also had a hand in the script for the Good, the Bad and the Ugly as well.
If I’m not mistaken, he was just about the last surviving member of the famed writing partnerships who emerged in the 1950s and changed the shape of Italian comedy (see also Metz and Marchesi).
Here’s a translation of the obituary notice from Il messagero
ROME (April 28) – The 90 year olf writer Furio Scarpelli has died, as announced by his nephew Filiberto Scarpelli. An unsurpassed cartoonist and writer, he is considered to be a father of Italian comedy.
The son of Filiberto Scarpelli, founder of the humorous Roman newspaper Il travaso delle idee, he worked for many years with Age (Agenore Incrocci), forming the famous writing partnership couple Age & Scarpelli, who finally split in the 80s. Together they wrote masterpieces such as I soliti ignoti and la Grande Guerra by Monicelli, I Mostri by Dino Risi and Ettore Scola’s C’eravamo tanto amati and La terrazza. The duo also worked on the screenplay for Il Buono il brutto e il cattivo by Sergio Leone. Scarpelli worked extensively with Scola but also with young writers and directors, including Francesca Archibugi and Paolo Virzi.
“I feel devastated, lost like a child. He was a master of rhetoric, his work was the medicine that healed us from fascism,” said Paolo Virzi. “Perhaps it is not clear to everyone who Furio was, he was a master scriptwriter, the principal author of the best Italian comedies, the author of the stories of popular films that were the most beautiful, intense, fun and intelligent that we have ever had in Italy. But, above all, he was a wonderful person. A teacher, yes, but rhumane. His curious eyes, always witty and compassionate, watching people and observing. He was a genius, he had a talent for dialogue that was unsurpassed, but also a generous and humble person, who preferred to stay out of the limelight, instead devoting himself to teaching other people.”
“Furio was a cultivated and ironic, with a great passion for social matters and an innate elegance,” said Walter Veltroni. “He invented wonderful stories and did justice to the absolute value of the imagination. He was an intellectual end with a deep sense of the value of a popular language. He made great Italian cinema. He honored the country he loved and which made him suffer. I am very sad, really.”