There are very few people in this world who have the ability and wish to show the immense creativity of imagination in the form of jewels of words. Mario Soldati was one among those rare players of words who has contributed not only to the Italian literature but has his mark left in the entire community of global writers.
Born on 16th November 1906 in the district of Turin, Piedmont, Italy Soldati is known for his immense contribution not only in the field of film making and directing whereby he has directed some thirty motion pictures but also liked and admired for his excellence as a journalist, short-story writer, novelist, poet, screen writer and television critics. The subject of his works were varied and much liked by the people in all different sections and this perhaps is the reason of his gross popularity.
A brief insight in his career could tell us the source and origin of his creativity. Shortly after his graduation from the University of Turin, Soldati moved to United States in the late 20’s to continue his studies which also led for a teaching position at Columbia University in New York. Soldati’s endeavor to get an American citizenship was a failure and he has to return to motherland Italy shortly in the year 1931. However Soldati was able to create his first creation in the name of Salmace in the year 1929 which is a collection of stories commanded by a unilateral thought. The stories are for the first time of liberal thoughts which was appreciated much in the later date. The next creation was a remembrance to the good time spends in America and was named as America First Love published in 1935. In Italy however Soldati joined the production company cines. His talents and abilities were soon recognized and appreciated and very soon he became the lead scriptwriter and assistant director. His brilliance in the work earned him fame and directors like Blasetti, Walther Ruthman, and Augusto Genina was provided with his screenplays. The great Mario Camerini was also associated with Soldati as the later being both scriptwriter and assistant director for him.
The first directoral debut by Soldati was in the year 1939 when he directed the comedy Dora Nelson. Soldati never had hidden the his motive for making films as he used to say that they are better paid than writing but his knack as a writer are well reflected by the literary adaptations of the authors content of the original story from where the movie was conceived. One such example could be of the nineteenth century author Antonio Foazzaro’s novels Piccolo mondo antico-1941 and Malombra-1942. By 1950 Soldati was well known for his competency in commercially oriented adventures and comedy. In 1956 he worked as a second unit director on the American Italian epic War and peace. The same role was played in the famous all time favourite Ben-hur in the year 1959.
It would certainly be an incomplete ending if Soldati’s works are not discussed. Of his huge array of creativity the one where he showed his skill as a writer are Uomini che mascalzoni! Gli or what scoundrel men are in 1932, Tavola dei poveri,la in 1932, Cento di questi giomi, and Acciaio or steel both in 1933, Giallo, and Cappello a tre punte or three cornered hat in 1934, Ma non e una cosa seria or but its nothing serious, and Grande appello II or the last roll call in 1936, Signor max, and Contessa di parma, la or the duchess of parma in 1937, Staserra alle uudici or tonight at eleven, and Signora di Montecarlo or the women of Montecarlo, Orologio a cucu, la or the cuckoo clock, Principessa Tarakanova or princess tarakanova in the year 1938, Inconnue de Monte carlo or unknown of monte carlo, Castelli in aria or castles in the air, Due miloni per un sorriso, Documento II or documento fatale in 1939, Dora Nelson, Peccato di Rogelia Sanchez, Tutto per la donna, Romantica avventura or a romantic adventure in 1940, Piccolo mondo antico or old fashioned world in 1941, Tragica notte or tragic night, Colpo di pistola or a pistol shot, Malombra in 1942, Quartieri alti or in high places in 1945, Daniele cortis, Eugenia grandet in 1947, Fuga in francia or flight into france in 1948, Donne e briganti or of love and bandits in 1950, Avventure de Mandrin le or the adventures of manderine in 1951, Jolanda la figlia del corsaro nero or jolanda – the daughter of the black corsair in 1952, Provianciale la in 1953, Questa e la vita or of life and love in 1954, Donna del fmme or the river girl in 1955, Conte max II in 1957, Amore difficile or erotica in 1962, The bible in 1966, Waterloo in 1970, Giacca verde or the green jacket in 1979 and in 1989 the Maestro II or the musical may. Apart from the wonderfull talent of writing Soldati as mentioned earlier was also a good director and the creativity of his showed it shades of color in film directing also. The quality of direction which Soldati showed can be produced only by the touch of the artistry and the understanding of life, which is normally possessed by a writer. Few literature published showed the depth of his writing and the fact that Soldati does had that prudence which is required to understand the finer concepts of life. Few to mention are – To supper with the knights, The letters from Goats, True silvestri, Two cities, Orange envelop, The stories of marshals, Actor, Emerald, Slanted mirror, The spouse American, Fire, The house of because and the Architect. One of the most accredited novel written by Soldati is the Lettere da Capri in 1953 which had won many appreciations from the laureates and lovers of literature. Soldati doesn’t have a huge list of awards in his name but few that he won is only because of his talent and creativity. One such to name would be the Pietro Bianchi award for the year 1978.
Such great a persona as Mario Soldati left this world forever due to natural cause on the fateful day of 19th June 1999. His persona cannot be faded by time for it is marked like a cross in the stone by the works and the creations. Persons like Soldati never die but they remain alive in the hearts and mind of peoples, generations after generation.