Toth Database - Cinema 

Pietro Germi

Genova, 14 September 1914 – Roma, 5 December 1974


Pietro Germi was born on 14 September 1914 in Genova, Via Ponte Calvi, by John Germs, hotel concierge, and Armellina Castiglioni, housewife. In 1924 the family moved between up to Via Santa Croce. In 1927 father dies: Peter stays with her mother and three sisters Carolina, Gilda, and Henriette who work in a tailor's shop.Attend school up to the last year of the San Giorgio Nautical Institute but not graduated because it doesn't show the final exams despite good grades. Later he moved to Rome to follow the courses of the Centro Sperimentale di cinematografia while remaining closely linked to the sisters. In 1941 he married in Genoa with his daughter Maria Anna was born in 1947 John and Linda.

His second wife, bride Olga d'ajello, which will give him the sons Francis, Francesca, and Armellina. He began his career as an actor in 25 years in "Backstory", where he also worked as a co-writer. Worked as an actor in the film " the latest filibusters ".

 At the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia follows the courses of directed by Alessandro Blasetti. Following the American-inspired thriller lost youth and In the name of the law, with Joel Garcia produced by Luigi Rovere, winner of three silver ribbons and blockbuster.


One of the first films about the mafia, for which Germs receives a special Silver Ribbon, which consecrates him as an author.


With the neo-realist drama ( the path of hope ), always produced by oak, Germs first reaches the international level. The film was screened in competition at Cannes and won the silver bear Award and the Golden bear at the Berlin Film Festival. The noir realistic The city defends itself  is awarded as the best Italian film at the Venice Film festival. 

In 1952 he directed the film adaptation of the homonymous Chair stage play by Maurice Hennequin and Pierre Veber, a quirky title in his filmography, and the western rebel "The Tacca Wolf robber " with Amedeo Nazzari, stretch from the novel by Riccardo Bacchelli.

In 1953 with Jealousy brings back on the big screen the novel by Luigi Capuana "The Marquis of Roccaverdina " after the release of just ten years earlier, directed by Ferdinando Maria Poggioli, and participates in the modest episodic film Loves of half a century. Pietro Germi is idle for two years, in 1955, with the railroad man, runs one of his most successful operas, in fact the film was a considerable success with the public, considered one of the masterpieces of Italian Neorealist cinema.


To it happen movie like the man of pagli in, and the masterpiece "A Cheat " based on the novel Quer mess ugly de via Merulana by Carlo Emilio Gadda: one of the first examples of Italian crime appreciated, among others, by Pier Paolo Pasolini. In 1961 change genre and pungent satirical comedies and grotesque starts to spin.

The masterpiece Italian divorce , which outlines the unforgettable Baron Cefalu starring Marcello Mastroianni seduced by teenager Stefania Sandrelli, opens this new lucky season of his career; the movie, written by Ennio De Concini and Alfredo Giannetti and focused on honor killing, receiving an Oscar nomination for Best Director, best actor and another to Mastroianni gets one for best original story and screenplay as well as other prestigious appreciative. The title of the film took some kind of comedy produced in Italy at that time known as commedia all'italiana. Pietro Germi was a northern man, but his character, apparently hidden under a zest of sullenness and intransigence, did it be near the southern people that knew and criticized at times severely the way of conceiving life, prejudices and errors but also appreciated the innate qualities. 

A relationship of love and hate her South and the Southerner who was in many films: in the character of mafioso respectable in its consistency and adherence to a law that is opposed to the law of a distant and uncaring, like in the movie in the name of the law and Sicilian honor misdirected desire to divorce, Italian style and seduced and abandoned, movies these past 60 years now prevails in germs, which is losing confidence in a renewal Southern culture, corrosive criticism isn't a society that sees unable to shake and to abandon his secular beliefs. With the film seduced and abandoned Germs back for the last time to shoot in Sicily, a region linked to a particular empathy with the Director. But the North is not spared from the corrosive criticism of germs.


The 1965 was the year of clear Sirs & Gentlemen with Virna Lisi and Gastone Moschin, satire about bourgeois hypocrisy of a town in the Veneto region and shot in Treviso. The film won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival equal with a man, a woman, by Claude Lelouch. Directs the couple Ugo Tognazzi and Stefania Sandrelli in the immoral, pleasant film inspired, apparently at personal lives by Vittorio De Sica.


Germs never had good relations with the left-wing film criticism negatively judged more for his political positions than for the actual aesthetic value of his films. Germs in particular had dared to challenge the stereotype that the left had built of the figure of the worker. For this reason, for a long time until the end of the eighty Germs was set apart from the intelligence of the Italian Communist Party who couldn't accept what Germs had guessed: the social transformation of the working class.


The Director's fault was that, according to Guido de Aristarico, Director of new Cinema, writing The Railwayman and, having given to the protagonist Macdonald a configuration policy that "belongs to a historically outmoded populism" with ideas from "at the time of the Socialist Movement newcomer" with the turantini of the first after the war. The real worker cannot be a scab as the railwayman of germs. 

These criticisms of the left who were you contract by the success that the film he met at the popular public in Italy in Moscow and Leningrad during "the week of Italian cinema".


The same criticism, if not harsher, returned at the first straw man where, even the protagonist, a labourer, lived a classic bourgeois drama that could not belong to him.


Umberto Barbaro Wrote:



« Dear friends, to me these operari of germs that they act without intelligence and without a will. No class consciousness and without human solidarity, methodical and routine as a petty bourgeois, whose social life runs out in hunting on Sundays or in front of the tables of Inns that have neither brio or outbursts, always a bit stiff and disappetenti, even in things of love that now form the scabs and now run into trouble even some good girl, pushing her to suicide and then cry crocodile tears, with their wives and in churches and sacristies these workers of celluloid, which if they were flesh and blood, would vote for Social Democrats and it would approve the alliances, to the extreme right but not only seem caricatures slanderous but I have banged damn nerves ».


Even the left-wing intellectuals dissidents from these extreme potions which could not fail to appreciate the cinematic art of germs, but they had though to say so openly while staying on a location by:


"Here I say it and here I deny it", like Glauco Viazzi, who claimed that he meant to ignore the social reality does not recognize that "such workers exist in reality and in large numbers and not just among those who then vote Social Democratic, but also among those DC or giving the rating class parties».



But he said that straw man, scored artistically, did not deserve that a cautious and moderate praise. Antonello Trombadori, Director of the contemporary, along with Deputy Carlo Salinari and the historic Paul Spiriano, wrote in 1956 to Palmiro Togliatti a letter meant to stay private, was published only in 1990 with which They asked the Secretary of the party to meet up with Germs in order not to alienate a man and the thousands like him, so important for the anti-fascist movement:


«We come in these days from seeing a very popular Italian film beautiful and moving, certainly, "the railroad man, by Pietro Germi. It is a work of a militant Socialist and yet it is a film full of every part of sincere Socialist spirit ".



In 1968 Germs turns the praise of country life with Adriano Celentano Serafino in one of his best performances in the role of pastore abruzzese, who gets a resounding success. In 1970 it was the turn of chestnuts are good with Gianni Morandi, who for many perhaps rightly, is considered the least successful movie of the Director.

After Alfredo Alfredo with Dustin Hoffman and Stefania Sandrelli, returning to the grotesque comedy, little appreciated by critics, began work on the design of the film My friends which must yield to his friend Mario Monicelli because suffering from cirrhosis of the liver. Germs died in Rome on 5 December 1974. 

The film My friends released in 1975, is dedicated to him: in the opening credits is significantly a film by Pietro Germi and directed by Mario Monicelli.





1945/ The witness

1947/ Lost youth

1949/ In the name of the law

1950/ Path of hope

1951/ The city defends itself

1952/ The Tacca Wolf robber

1952/ President

1953/ Jealousy

1954/ Loves of half a century

1956/ The railroad man

1958/ The Straw Man

1959/ A Cheat

1961/ Divorce, Italian style

1964/ Seduced and abandoned

1966/ Ladies and gentlemen

1967/ The Immoral

1968/ Seraph

1970/ Chestnuts are good

1972/ Alfredo Alfredo


Pietro GermiActor



1941/ The Iron Crown, directed by Alessandro Blassetti

1946/ Montecassino, directed by Arturo Gemminiti

1948/ Flight into France, directed by Mario Soldati

1956/ The railroad man, actor and Director

1958/ Straw man, actor and Director

1959/ A Cheat, actor and Director

1960/ Lipstick, directed by Damiano Damiani

1960/ Jovanka and high, directed by Martin Ritt

1961/ The road, directed by Mauro Bolognini

1961/ The assassin, directed by Damiano Damiani

1965/ And there came a man, directed by Ermanno Olmi