When the Jaws Die, Nobody Cry; When Dino de Laurentiis Die, Everybody Cry

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11/11/2010 10:39 AM |


Dino de Laurentiis, the Italian superproducer with skin the color of the sun setting over the French Rivieria, who started out producing Italian neorealist features in the postwar years, then slid seamlessly into the European arthouse classic, the glossy international coproduction and the late post-studio bloated blockbuster, has died age 91.

One bio notes that de Laurentiis produced works by “Fellini, Bergman, Rossellini, De Sica, Visconti, Vidor, Huston, Lumet, Forman, Altman, Friedkin, Pollack, Cimino, and Cronenberg,” which leaves off Bava, Mann, Demme, Raimi, Death Wish, Mandingo, Conan the Barbarian and the King Kong remake. And in perhaps the greatest “one for them, one for me” deal of all time, he got David Lynch to suffer through the unfilmable Dune in exchange for the money to shoot Blue Velvet. (“”Dino appreciated David’s rather bizarre gifts, and besides, Dino’s system was to always presell everything through his European and international contacts, so he never lost money.”)

With his Oscars, movie-star wife (the late, great Silvana Mangano) and very own eponymous studio complex, Dino de Laurentiis embodied a particularly, wonderfully precarious balance of class and kitsch; he was almost a human through-line for postwar cinema.