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Renzo Montagnani

  • An icon

Renzo Montagnani is a real icon of Italian comedies. For the audience he is still today the general, the mayor, the teacher, the principal a little 'jerk, who wants to have an affair with a young lover betray his wife.
Renzo Montagnani is especially the legendary bartender Necchi of "Amici Miei", great member of the legendary gang of friend. And not only that. He is a stage, TV, radio, and voice actor but above all a great man.

From the more intellectual movies to the Italian sexy comedies, through the many stage appearances, Montagnani perform always different and perfect characters. Thanks to his sly face the natural Tuscan comic verve, round and sly, and great skill.
So, as often happens b’s directors and actors have a great skill in some case more than famous actors.
The life however force to certain choices and in this case, Montagnani is entrapped in many “off” roles,  but the life then giving him the opportunity over the years to prove to be worthy of serious movies and more complex characters.
  • A florentine born in Piedmont

Born 11 September 1930 in Alessandria, from Florentine family, he graduated in pharmacy and moved to Milan, where he began with theater. In a short time he is perceive for his natural talent and begins to work with famous actors of the time like Erminio Macario and Carlo Dapporto.
In the early sixties he moved to Rome, where his career is growing exponentially. He continues with the theater, and began to work for Radio and TV with the show "Milledischi" and TV series
"Il Mulino Del Po" and "Vita di Dante", in 1963 and 1965.
"Il Mulino del Po" was a very popular series at the time, based on a novel of Bacchelli directed by Sandro Bolchi, sees Montagnani in the role of the villain "Beffa" a character from the heavy makeup, body disfigured, and a role that was not easy and according with the director in few would accept it.
The film debut came with “I Sogni Muoiono All’Alba” of 1961. Written and directed, only case, by Indro Montanelli, tells the story of a group of journalists sent to Budapest to attend the arrival of Russian tanks.
With this work starts the artistic love between the two, about the great Montanelli says "I called him always - whenever I did things in theater, especially one-act plays, because we understood immediately, an ideal workmate. And not because he was Tuscan, I am wary of my fellow indeed. But Renzo had taken the best qualities. Precisely for this reason we understood each others. "
This film opens a series of important performances in important movies, ranging from drama to comedy and among which we mention "I Sette Fratelli Cervi".

  • The swinging seventies

The seventies start with "Metello” by Bolognini and "Quando le donne avevano la coda" that lead the way for comedies, confirmed in 1972 by "Una Cavalla tutta nuda".
It’s the moment of popular movies works the exception of the documentary of the great Elio Petri and interpreted by the Gian Maria Volontè “Tre Ipotesi sulla morte di Pinelli”, work which also leaves no doubt about the ideas of Montagnani.
Then there is a long list of genres and sub genres of Italian sexy comedy of which Montagnani is the protagonist and witness.
From the Decamerotics of early seventies  "Una Cavalla tutta nuda", "Jus primae noctis", through the comedies “Fiorina La Vacca”, “Il Vizio di Famiglia” and “Il Peccato di Famiglia”, to the trash masterpieces of female soldiers, teachers e various betrayal “La Soldatessa alla visita militare”, “La Soldatessa alle grandi Manovre” “L’insegnante viene a casa” “Il Ginecologo della Mutua”, the really bad “Io zombo, tu zombi, lei zomba”and “La Vedova Del Trullo”.
Among the many there is also “Il Corpo Della Ragassa” an erotic comedy directed by Pasquale Festa Campanile,  inspired from a novel by Gianni Brera, starring Enrico Maria Salerno and Lilli Carati that reach for the record her highest point in her career.

Montagnani starred in many movies, with a great success at the box office however, hides behind many laughs and posthumous film fans and critics esteem there is a sad story. “Rough movies are rewarding choice, but I think that I’m better of my movies", "When you are paid 2 millions of lire for the screenplay, 60 lines are already so much. For the rest when I starred in certain films, I thought more to my family than to the film " he said perhaps with a hint of sadness, but also confirming that he was a great man who didn’t have doubts about risk his artistic credibility to have the funds needed to treat his son Daniele, seriously ill and hospitalized in England and for which Renzo and his wife Eileen have dedicated their lives.
Fortunately, Montagnani, has never lost artistic credibility, "I am the prophet of sexycomico” he said but he was always “forgiven" by critics when he played theater or in most important works.
“La Coscienza di Zeno” of 1978, a show for the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Svevo, was a huge success and was well received by the critics “La Giacca Verde”  a film for TV was acclaimed by Mario Soldati the writer from which is inspired the story.

  • Necchi a DOC Florentine

The eighties give the last fireworks of the fabulous Italian sexy comedy that many (in) sane, laughter have given to us. Montagnani star in some other sexy comedies as "Mia Moglie torna a scuola", "La poliziotta a New York" and in "Pierino La Peste alla riscossa" but especially in 1982 becomes the bartender Necchi of "Amici Miei II". A great role, for a great performance in one of the cornestone of Italian comedies. Montagnani had already a role in the first episode, as dubbing actor of Noiret a second chance because he didn’t have the role.
And it’s a pleasure to see Montagnani in a context that honors him and with giants of Italian cinema, as Ugo Tognazzi, Gastone Moschin, Philippe Noiret and Adolfo Celi.
Already we have entered the dubbing theme, Montagnani was the Italian voice of Thomas O'Malley of "The Aristocats" the one of Charles Bronson in "Breakout", "Hardtimes” "and the one of Claude Piéplu in"The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie" and Bill Cosby's "Bill Cosby Show ", the first series.
In 1982, “Giocare D’Azzardo” is acclaimed thanks to the outstanding performance of Montagnani with the great Piera Degli Esposti. After another Italian comedy film "Occhio, malocchio, prezzemolo e finocchio" (1983), Montagnani starred in "Amici miei Atto Terzo", 1985, a pleasant third episode of the saga.
The years pass and times change. The Italian sexy comedy is now in disarray with its genuine characters but is still in vogue and is among the leaders of “Rimini, Rimini un anno dopo” mediocre comedy of 1988 but in the same year he starred in "Il Volpone" excellent film, smart and brilliant unfortunately underestimated with Enrico Montesano and Paolo Villaggio.
With "Zuppa di Pesce" of 1992 Montagnani closes the career on the big screen. But television is pressing and sees him among the actors of the series and miniseries as "Il viaggio dell’ Achille Lauro", "“Processo di Famiglia” and also of the flop of "I Promessi Sposi". But above all Montagnani is the protagonist of "Don Fumino" enjoyable and popular series of the early nineties that saw him in the role of a Tuscan priest Tuscan showing to a big audience his acting skills.
The theater love never left see him in "Il Pigmailione" by Shaw, "Sarto Per Signora" of Feydeau and "La dodicesima notte" by Shakespeare.
Life, never too good with Montagnani confined him to a long illness whose signs are seen in “Il Mastino” TV series in which Montagnani is forced to play on a wheelchair. "Teo" instead is the last work of this genius and great artist, who died May 22, 1997 in Rome.

Thank you ... thank you for everything Renzo!