About a fortnight ago we highlighted star Italian actresses whose fame in the 50s and 60s made them household names.

This week we’ll look at the masculine side.

The man pictured above was one of the first post war stars who had an impact internationally both in front of, and behind, the camera.

He wasn’t exactly a household name in the U.S. although he acted in various Hollywood titles. Can you come up with the identity of that handsome dude above, who is the subject of our Monday mini-quiz.

A clue: It was he who gave a teenage Sophia Loren her first big acting break.  I owed him so much, she wrote. Including, perhaps, Loren’s acting Oscar. In his hands, she wrote, Sophia felt completely safe.

Each decade, starting in 1952, the magazine,  Sight and Sound, published by the British Film Institute, declares its top ten films of all time based on extensive polling of international movie critics.

Our mystery man’s The Bicycle Thief was number one in the first survey. This is a 1948 beauty (aka The Bicycle Thieves) our man directed set in war ravaged Italy about a poverty-stricken poster hanger (and his young son), whose bike he desperately needs to eke out a living, is stolen. No question, a durable classic.

Ok, let’s see if you can divine the answers to our mystery man’s Monday Quiz. (As usual, answers tomorrow.

1) Question: Which of the following stars did our man NOT costar within Sixties Hollywood? a) Clark Gable; b) Laurence Olivier; c) Raquel Welch; or d) Lawrence Tierney.

2) Question: Our man was Oscar nominated in the best supporting actor category for his performance in which one of the following titles? a) Umberto D.; b) The Shoes of the Fisherman; c) Woman Times Seven; or d) A Farewell To Arms.

3) Question: In one of our man’s most notable efforts, Umberto D., the plot revolves about the loving relationship between a destitute old man and his dog. What was the dog’s name? a) Pisano; b) Spot; c) Fido; or d) Flike.

4) Question: As a director, our man became identified with “neo-realism” in the choice and realization of various subjects. Which of his following titles fits that label? a) The Children Are Watching Us; b) Marriage, Italian Style; c) Two Women; or d) The Garden of the Finzi-Continis.

5) Question: In 1953, our man directed two of Hollywood’s biggest stars (and clashed with a key American producer) in Indiscretion of an American Wife. Can you name the two stars?

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