The director was Rainer Werner Fassbinder and took place in Nazi era Germany. "Shot primarily in English and then presented on American screens dubbed into German with English subtitles, it is an exercise in displacement: the Nazis are either benign, ineffectual, or secretly good guys; the Jews are wealthy and comparatively safe. (Insdorf 121) Giannini plays the role of Robert Mendelsson and although does a good job in his role, is a far cry from the characters in his earlier films. He plays a Jew who has to listen to "Lilli Marleen" as a form of torture.
Giannini performed several films in English. A Night Full of Rain another film directed by Wertmuller stars Giannini opposite actress Candice Bergen. Here he also has a love-hate relationship with the female protagonist much like in Swept Away. What makes this film different from the other however is the reaction Wertmuller got from audiences? Some believed her to be a sexist and a misogynist. When the movie screened at the Pacific Film Archives in Berkley, Giannini was there to silence the audience. "Out onto the stage strode Giancarlo Giannini, exuding his dark Italian masculine charm. The audience was silent." (Stewart 110)
One can see from the reaction of the audience during that screening just how special Giannini is as an actor and a man. They viewed him as hunky, charming, and someone they could not forget. And much like the women gawked in Seven Beauties as he strolled in, they did so when he entered the stage at the screening. That quiet confidence and the sympathetic eye delivers time and time again throughout his career.
It is in his abilities that many found him a viable actor. He did dubbing work as well as performed on Television. Casino Royale was one of his more memorable Italian dubbing projects. Many who recognize his voice in dubs recognize it from that movie. His voice has the ability to illicit a cool and calm realism that is often not found in most actors today. Even in his personal life although he keeps mainly private, one can catch a glimpse of where his inner confidence and tranquility stems from. Some believe Giannini is a natural talent, and to some extent that is true, but he also honed his craft while working.
Many of his films were done with varying roles although some had the continuing theme as earlier mentioned of war and Germany. He always played a significant male role. It was either as a nephew, a father, a brother, or even just a soldier. In these roles and the subsequent success of some his movies that he gained the confidence people see today. To put it shortly, Giannini is an accomplished man. His voice, his looks, his ability set him apart from the rest. His delivery, his talent took him to success the likes of which can be compared to famous American actors of today like Tom Cruise.
In conclusion this paper discussed the man, the actor known as Giancarlo Giannini. Even though he is in his early 70's he still radiates a quiet calm and confidence that few actors possess. He is poised, yet vulnerable, stiff, yet personable, and in those moments one sees him on cinema and in interview, one can see why he gained commercial and critical success as an actor. His films not only provided an audience with entertainment, but also a look into the life of a person, a character, a life.
His most notable work with Wertmuller showcased the many facets of his charismatic personality and allowed him to play a diverse amount of roles and movies. He has shown the world over just what it means to be an actor and grace the stage. Even in the movies where he only provided dubbing, his voice and talent still projected on screen. Giannini is what some would say a natural talent and has shown it for the past 4 decades.
Giannini is still regarded as a phenomenal actor. He's even had recent acclaim and success in the James Bonds films. Although he seems aloof at times in interviews and often speaks only Italian, he is and forever will be one of the great actors of cinema and more specifically Italian cinema. From the scene with flowers across his body in Swept Away to many times he's delivered subtle and dramatic performances, film students for decades after his death will know the name of Giancarlo Giannini. He is the man of a million voices all of which are charismatic, complex, and brilliant.
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