L’Immensità (La ragazza del Paips) (1967)

Plot: Monica and Dario are two young lovers; she is a fan of beat singers and loves dancing, while he loves classical music and is of a rather shy nature. Trouble flares up when Monica and her friends steal some guitars from a company which manufactures musical instruments.

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Due Fogli Poster

Extract from an interview with Don Backy – all credit to Bizzaro Cinema

What was your introduction to cinema?

I started out with a small role in a film shot in 1953 Canzoni, Canzoni, Canzoni directed by Domenico Paolella: I sang a song which was going to be on my first single. After a couple of musicarello’s, like L’Immensita and Cleopazza (a parody of Cleopatra) by 1967 I started getting better offers. I was at the Sanremo festival with the song L’Immensita and an acting agent called me, his name was Roby Cerccacci. He told me the director Gianni Puccini was casting for I Sette Fratelli Cervi and he wanted me in the film: he’d seen me on television and thought I had the right face for films. So I came down to Rome and signed a contract, and it all pretty much started there.

Gian Maria Volontè was also in I Sette Fratelli Cervi and we became good friends. Sometimes, in the evening, they’d invite us to these small conferences to meet the locals who lived in these remote areas: someone would always turn up with a guitar and we’d sing the whole time. Gian Maria enjoyed himself, he liked it a lot. He loved one song in particular, and he was always asking me to sing it, Quando ti Senti un Po Giu/When You Feel a Bit Down, by Ico Cerutti, it’s one of those songs you all sing in chorus. One evening, coming back from one of these performances, Gian Maria told me he was going to work on Banditi a Milano after I Sette Fratelli Cervi and he added “I’ll speak to Lizzani and if he doesn’t choose you to act in the film I’ll tell him I’m out as well”. Gianni Puccini also wrote a letter to Lizzani, saying I had talent and even when I didn’t have any lines in a scene, I’d always invent something of my own so I wasn’t just idling, doing nothing. Carlo Lizzani later chose me for Barbagia so, evidently I was at the top of my game, also because sticking a good-for-nothing like me alongside an actor like Volontè wouldn’t make anyone happy.

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