Ayn Rand in India
Monday, December 17, 2018
Ayn Rand - India blog
Quotable quotes
A Chronology
About this Initiative
Please enter your email here, we would like to keep you informed.
Connect With Us - Facebook RSS
<December 2018>
Calender of Events
About Ayn Rand
Writings of Ayn Rand
Objectivism in Perspective
Metaphysics: Objective Reality
Ethics: Self Interest
Politics: Laissez Faire Capitalism
Ayn Rand Institute
Essay Competitions
Popular References
 About Ayn Rand
The banned, lost, rediscovered: Ayn Rand's "We the Living" lives on!
We The Living Movie, United States Friday, August 13, 2010

When Goffredo Alessandrini and his young associate director, Anton Majano decided too make a drama of epic proportions out of We The Living, they had a problem. They couldn't buy the rights as a war was going on, and they stole it. The movie making was tough and it was cut into two. The Government ordered to destroy the negatives, but they saved it by sending wrong negatives. Ayn Rand's legal representatives Holzer's rediscovered the movie which was in the possession of two Roman's. The movie was excellently made and was a box office success.


Goffredo Alessandrini, one of Italy's leading directors had been searching for a drama of epic proportions, and WE THE LIVING, a recent best-seller in war-torn Italy, fit the bill perfectly. The struggle of a young woman to live her own life despite being trapped in a state-controlled society, was a story that moviegoers could easily relate to in Facist-run Italy. But Rand’s novel was considered a political hot potato by Fascist authorities in Rome and was approved for filming only via the personal intervention of the son of dictator Benito Mussolini. Alessandrini and his young associate director, Anton Majano, knew that while WE THE LIVING touched on volitile political issues, they hoped they would be safe from repercussions because of the story's harshly negative portrayal of Communist Russia --Italy's wartime enemy.


But with the war on, negotiations with an American author were out of the question. The solution was simple, but certainly not elegant. They stole it.

"It was actually a cheat and a fraud," said Majano many years later. "Because of the war we couldn't buy the rights."


Cast in the leading roles were three of Italy's top box-offices attractions: 38-year-old Fosco Giachetti, a star of such magnitude that his casting was unquestioned, in the role of Andrei.

21-vear-old Alida Valli, already a major star in Italy, won the coveted role of Kira. And 22-year-old Rossano Brazzi, in only his second movie, played Leo.

"The character of Leo - I loved it", says Brazzi, "I loved it because he was a nice good son-of-a-bitch! And he was really the aristocratic man that I think was at that time in Russia. But there were three wonderful roles - three beautiful roles".

Two prominent Italian novelists, Corrado Aluaro and Ono Vergani, were hired to convert the best-selling book into a script.

... ...

According to Brazzi: "We made the picture without a script - just following the book. Majano and Alessandrini wrote the day before, what we were going to do the day after."

Working this way forced the writers to be far more faithful to the novel than is typical in book-to-movie adaptations.

... ...

Brazzi recalls: "We were working 12,13,14 hours a day and there was a lot of perspiration because inside it was a hundred degrees and you had to show the people you were cold. It was a terrible job for the make-up men, the perspiration."

... ...

Several weeks into the production, Alessandrini and Majano realized that, working without a complete script, they were inadvertently shooting more material than could possibly fit into one film. So they went to the head of Scalera Films and told him it would be a pity to throw all this good material away - why not make it into two films? They would be released as separate movies entitled, NOI VIVI (WE THE LIVING) and ADDIO KIRA (GOODBY KIRA). It was a risky and unconventional approach. The studio reluctantly went along - but only if the decision was kept secret.

"Thev had made a contract with the actors for one film". Majano recalled, "so the head of the studio said, We have to keep it a secret that we're going to release it as two films, because if the actors find out they're going to want to be paid double.' But, obviously, none of the three were fools, and as they kept filming and filming, they said, 'How long is this film, anyway!' And they were told, 'It's running a bit long, but don't worry about it.'


"Sometimes we started at 8:30 in the morning and didn't finish till 11 or 11:30 at night", said Brazzi. "We were working 14 hours a day. One day, we left, Alida and myself, we ran away from the studio - they couldn't find us for two days. They kept calling my house. To work 10 hours a day is enough! Not 14. So we established regular hours."

During the filming, the Fascist Ministry of Culture made the first of several efforts to suppress WE THE LIVING.

... ...

The movie opened in Rome and was a huge box-office success. But before long, the film came to be viewed as a sly indictment of the Mussolini regime. In addition, the portrayal of an intelligent, sexually independent heroine, groundbreaking for its time, was viewed as controversial. The film was banned by the Italian government and ordered to be destroyed. But Massimo Ferrara, the studio chief for Scalera Films, hid the original negatives with a trusted friend and sent the negatives of another Scalera production to authorities for destruction! After the war, efforts to rerelease the film were ended when Rand declined to grant the necessary literary rights. By the early 1950's Scalera Films had gone out of business and We the living had dropped from sight.

Although Ayn Rand's novel WE THE LIVING had been a best seller for over 40 years, virtually no one in America knew of the existence of the film version made in Italy. In the 1960's Erika and Henry Mark Holzer began representing Ayn Rand. As their professional relationship developed into a personal friendship, she told them that there was an Italian motion picture version of the novel that had disappeared after a brief theatrical run in Italy.

The Holzers decided to find the film. They began to query official Italian agencies, to no avail. The search went on and ended in the summer of 1968 when it was discovered that two Romans representing a business entity that owned dozens of vintage Italian films, had in their possession the original film, which was made In two parts, titled NOI VIVI and ADDIO KIRA.

... ...

This article was published in the We The Living Movie on Friday, August 13, 2010. Please read the original article here.
Author :
Tags- Find more articles on - Ayn Rand | Italy Noi Vivi | movie | We The Living

Post your Comments on this Article

Comments will be moderated

More Related Articles
About Ayn Rand
More Articles

Liberty Partners
  Atlas Shrugged
An Initiative of
All rights reserved.