Movies

Dino De Laurentiis bids adieu to the world

MUMBAI: 91-year old legendary producer of cult films, Dino De Laurentiis expired in Los Angeles yesterday. Laurentiis, the man behind more than 500 films, left an indelible footprint in a career that spanned half a century. He became known as a tireless deal-maker who was never afraid to bet big on an extravagant idea that had captured his imagination.


His early hits ranged from Italian titles La Strada and Nights of Cabiria, both of which won Academy Awards. He also made Barbarella, War and Peace and the Al Pacino starrer Serpico. 


Later he produced films like the series of Conan the Barbarian films and The Silence of the Lambs sequels Hannibal, Red Dragon and Hannibal Rising.


Laurentiis was equally famed for his flops. Dune, which burned $40 million in 1984 and the 1976 remake of King Kong and 1977‘s Orca were some films that did him in.


He suffered a near-bankruptcy in 1988, at the age of 70, yet bounced back with a sense of ambition which will see him remembered as a survivor in the great tradition of outsized Hollywood producers. He later tasted success with Breakdown, U-571 and the final three Hannibal Lecter titles.


In the late 1950s, De Laurentiis developed the "international co-production", in which Hollywood studios would film overseas, where backstage labour was cheap. Anthony Quinn came to Rome for La Strada, followed by Kirk Douglas (Ulysses) and Audrey Hepburn and Henry Fonda (War and Peace).


He built a massive film studio near Rome. But it soon hit financial difficulties when the Italian government tightened subsidy regulations. Eventually, the business failed, ending his relationship with Ponti and persuading him to emigrate to Hollywood in the early 1970s.

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