Tullio Pinelli: Fellini's long-standing screenwriter

Tullio Pinelli was one of Italy's best-known screenwriters and he worked with many of the great directors. He will be best remembered, however, for writing all of Federico Fellini's films up to the mid-1960s and garnering four Oscar nominations in the process.

Pinelli, who was born in Turin in 1908, came from a noble family; after Italian unification in the mid-19th century, a great-uncle quashed a Calabrian revolt. In 1952, Pinelli recreated this incident in Il Brigante di Tacca del Lupo ["The Bandits of Tacca del Lupo"].

Pinelli initially worked as a lawyer and wrote in his spare time, but the success of his play The Etruscan Fathers led to a contract with Lux Film. Then, in 1946, he had a career-changing encounter at a news kiosk in Rome, when he found someone reading a different page of the same newspaper. It was Fellini. The meeting was "a creative lightning bolt" and the two men immediately discussed writing a fantasy film, totally at odds with the then prevalent neo-realism.

That idea came to nothing but Fellini was involved with Roberto Rossellini's L'Amore ["Love"] (1948), which began with an adaptation of Jean Cocteau's La voix humaine ["The Human Voice"]. Rossellini asked Fellini and Pinelli to add a second, cheap-to-film story. They came up with Il Miracolo ["The Miracle"] in which a homeless woman mistakes a passer-by for St Joseph (reluctantly played by Fellini, in return for a sports car). For the woman, pregnancy confirms the miracle; the locals, however, leave her to give birth alone in a cowshed.

In 1949, Fellini and Pinelli adapted Bacchelli's novel Il Mulino del Po ["The Mill on the Po"] for Alberto Lattuada. Fellini read volume one, Pinelli read volume two and they ignored volume three. Pinelli also adapted Chekhov's The Steppe for one of Lattuada's forays into Russian literature (La Steppa, 1963). Pinelli worked with Lattuada for the last time in 1985, on the star-studded mini-series Christopher Columbus.

In 1950 Fellini embarked on his own debut, Luci del Varieta ["Lights of Variety"], about sexual jealousy among a troupe of vaudevillians. It was co-directed with Lattuada and co-scripted with Pinelli who, over the next 13 years, wrote 11 Fellini films, including I Vitelloni (1953); La Strada (1954); La Dolce Vita (1960) and 8 (1963). Relations soured after Juliet of the Spirits (1965) but they got back together for the bittersweet Ginger and Fred in 1986 and again four years later for the director's swansong, The Voice of the Moon. Though Pinelli never won an Oscar, he was one of several uncredited writers on Vittoria De Sica's Oscar-winner The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (1970).

Pinelli and Fellini complemented each other, the former bringing a solid dramatic background to the deal, the other a propensity for fantasy. Together they expressed the director's obsessions, his problematic relationship with women and his fascination with performance coming together in a semi-surrealistic dream world.

Their films covered subjects like the early days of a marriage (The White Sheik, 1952); adolescent posturing (I Vitelloni); a group of swindlers who disguise themselves (Il bidone, 1955); and marital strife (Juliet of the Spirits). Nights of Cabiria (1957), their story of an indomitable prostitute's doomed search for true love, was adapted by Neil Simon as Sweet Charity and filmed by Bob Fosse in 1969.

In the early 1950s Pinelli was at the top of his game. As well as Fellini's projects, he scripted Voice of Silence (1953), a morally probing late film by G.W. Pabst, the director of Pandora's Box. That year Pinelli joined the writing team for the portmanteau film L'Amore in città ["Love in the City"] though the end result did not match the talent involved, which included Michelangelo Antonioni, Fellini, Lattuada and Cesare Zavattini. Another such project was Boccaccio '70 (1962), for which Pinelli wrote Fellini's "The Temptation of Dr Antonio".

Pinelli also worked with Pietro Germi, their eight films divided between tense dramas and light comedies. La Città si difende ("Four Ways Out", 1951) interweaves the separate escape routes of a group of bank robbers, while the divorce-comedy Alfredo, Alfredo (1972) is a lesser-known entry in Dustin Hoffman's filmography.

Mario Monicelli, another director with whom Pinelli worked, was best known for his comedies, including the incredibly popular Amici miei ("My Friends", 1975). Pinelli also worked on two sequels to that film (directed by Nanni Loy), in 1982 and 1985. After his retirement from screenwriting in the mid-1990s, Pinelli wrote a novel, The House of Robespierre. Viaggio a Tulum ["Journey to Tulum"], a Pinelli-scripted autobiographical project by Fellini which floundered while the director was alive, is currently in production.



Tullio Pinelli, screenwriter, novelist, playwright: born Turin 24 June 1908; married Maria Cristina Quilico, (deceased 1987; four children), 1988 Madeleine Lebeau; died Rome 7 March 2009.

News
people And here is why...
Voices
voicesBy the man who has
Sport
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson star in The Twilight Saga but will not be starring in the new Facebook mini-movies
tvKristen Stewart and Stephenie Meyer will choose female directrs
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
books(and not a Buzzfeed article in sight)
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
Arts and Entertainment
Twerking girls: Miley Cyrus's video for 'Wrecking Ball'
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
News
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Primary Supply Teacher

£121 - £142 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Primary supply teacher Hertford...

KS1 & KS2 Teacher

£115 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Luton: We are looking for infants and...

Secondary Trained Teachers for the watford area

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Qualified secondary teachers - ...

Primary Supply Teacher

£121 - £142 per day: Randstad Education Luton: KS1 & 2 Primary Supply Teac...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?