Claudio Undari .2
Today things have changed,
to a certain extent. You’re given a role not only after showing a photo, but after a film test to allow the director to evaluate your qualities, the stage presence and the diction. Nowadays is fundamental not only for television series but also for films destined to the cinemas. Dubbing is now used only for international film productions. When they proposed me the starring role as an antagonist (the first one in Italian western films, produced by Alberto Grimaldi for the PEA, a co-production with Spain) my dream came true. The making of the film took place in 1960 with the title “The Shadow of Zorro” directed by J. R. Marchent. It was a film that surprised everyone. The outside locations, first of all. In fact, for economic reasons, it was chosen Almeria, a place in the south of Spain, but the scenery was so beautiful and corresponding to the demands of western films (all of us had in mind the endless landscapes of the classical western film) to convince ourselves that we were actually filming in America. Obviously, the desert was not that endless: it started from the beach and finished after three kilometres. Enough however to create the illusion and it was not difficult, for us, to put ourselves in John Wayne’s shoes. The horses (stallions!) were so well trained that they seemed able to perceive the director’s orders at the word “action” just like the actors. We had weapons faithfully reproduced like the 1878 colts. You had to know how to ride, it was essential to know how to ride a stallion rather than a hack! Well trained too, at the American way. We also needed to always be careful not to be unsaddled; horses test us and they perceive if you know how to ride and at the first chance they try to throw you off them. Sandstorms, sometimes forced us for hours to find shelter under a tent. We were filming at 40 degrees of temperature in the shade, without taking into consideration the lights of 5000 watt pointed towards our faces, required to compensate the light of the sun. Edoardo Manzanos, co-producer, built at 20 kilometres from Madrid similar constructions to the ones in Tucson where A dollar of honour was filmed. There wasn’t enough budget to hire doubles for the actors, the many long rides forced me to overcome my fears, those fears that tested everyone, when a horse reaches 80 kilometres an hour! Working hours were not counted up anymore; we got up at 5 o’clock in the morning and stayed put on the set till sunset, with just a small break of half an hour. However, the organization was exemplary. Always following the screen-play, great attention to scenes of shoot-outs, fights and chases. More realism than fiction. Also when punching and getting punched.
English version edited by Daniele Piserchia