Tonino Valerii: The Films (Roberto Curti)

New monograph on Tonino Valerii, written by Roberto Curti (Il mio nome è nessuno. Lo spaghetti western secondo Tonino Valerii, 2008), published by McFarland. Foreword by Christopher Frayling, afterword by Ernesto Gastaldi.

Tonino Valerii directed five Westerns, from 1966 to 1973: Per il gusto di uccidere, I giorni dell’ira, Il prezzo del potere, Una ragione per vivere e una per morire and Il mio nome è Nessuno. In the video interview “Money, Myths and Morality: Roberto Curti on the Westerns of Tonino Valerii” (on the Arrow Films BD/DVD of Day of Anger, 2015), Curti outlines his viewpoint: “[…] Valerii’s style is very interesting because, unlike other Italian filmmakers who worked within genre, Valerii has never been a filmmaker who imposed his own style on the story he was telling. On the contrary, he submitted himself totally to the story. So he’s less recognizable than other filmmakers. He’s not showy. He does not want to make you say, ‘Oh, what a genius this is!’ In this sense, he’s a more classical filmmaker, he’s more like Raoul Walsh, I mean, something like from the old-style Hollywood. […] In a way, if [the] Italian Western is a postmodernist genre, we can say that Valerii was [one of] the more classical […] postmodernists.”

Added the book to the SWDb

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Manni, the mighty mailman, delivered Curti’s book on Friday. Started to read it yesterday, very interesting and factful so far. “[Tonino Valerii: The Films] conscientiously puts the record straight on My Name Is Nobody, and on much else besides” (Christopher Frayling in his foreword, p. 3).

And what does he write about the who-did-what question about My Name Is Nobody?

Curti discusses the film and its making at length – the longest chapter in his book – and comes to the conclusion that “thematically” Il mio nome è Nessuno “reflects Leone’s influence. But in terms of directing it is in every way a Tonino Valerii film” (p. 95). – You might be interested in what I wrote about Nessuno on Nerdistan.

I think in terms of directing it is in every way a Sergio Leone film. There is nothing in Vallerii’s earlier westerns which is on the level of most of the scenes of Nobody, not even close he comes.
Valerii was not a talented director, his better films are his 3 early westerns, in which he was a capable copyist of the Leone style (but with a certain lack of atmosphere). But the films he made directly before and after Nobody are small catastrophes in regard of storytelling and directing. And one of them is A Reason to Live, a Reason to Die.