Umberto Lenzi in Conversation (Part 1)

Part 1 of an epic 4+ hour interview with the late, great, Umberto Lenzi.

The interview was conducted by my wife and I in 2012.

Our original brief was to record a short 15 minute segment on his Eurocrime films for cult film distributor FilmArt in Germany. As we entered his humble apartment in Ostia, Umberto Lenzi asked us how long would this take? 20 minutes? I said fine, but seeing as this was probably a once in a lifetime opportunity, I then asked him if he’d be willing to record a second interview where we could look at his career from the early days right up to the end – to which he happily agreed.

Unfortunately (and you only get a hint of the aftermath at the very start of this first part) he then proceeded to tear my head off in the space of about 5 minutes. In all honesty, it was the closest we have ever been to simply packing our bags and walking out of an interview before it’s even started….

As we later found out, it turns out that this is the “normal” Umberto Lenzi approach, Thankfully, once those rather arduous five minutes were over he turned into someone quite different. He was warm, funny, and incredibly generous. He sat on the armrest of his sofa for over 4 hours with minimal breaks – we asked many times if he’d like to rest and most times he was happy to just keep going. What a trooper!

The first hour or so of the interview focuses on his early career, from his start at the national film school, his early successes with films like Catherine of Russia and The Mountain of Light and many more, with some great anecdotes along the way. It’s a long interview so it’s best divided into neat thirty minute chunks for easier digestion. The other parts will follow in time.

For the curious, the Umberto Lenzi ‘explosion’ at the start was captured on another camera and I might try and dig it out and upload it later on. For now, enjoy Umberto Lenzi in all his glory as he takes us on a journey through his lengthy and varied film career.

Rest in Peace Umberto Lenzi (1931 – 2017)

Thanks to Sebastian at FilmArt for making this possible – please support them and check out their fine catalogue of Eurocult cinema.

 

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