Manfredi shined in the lead role of Luis García Berlanga’s 1963 comedy, “El verdugo” (The Executioner). Manfredi plays José Luis Rodríguez, an undertaker who falls in love with Carmen, an executioner’s daughter. After they marry, José is obliged to carry on the family “dynasty” once his father-in-law retires. Terrified at the thought of executing someone, José becomes obsessed with the crime section of the newspaper, going out of his way to break up street fights in the hopes of preventing someone from earning a death sentence that he will have to carry out. By the 1970s, Manfredi evolved into a strong leading man, carrying a variety of films with ease. This was nowhere more evident than in Ettore Scola’s 1976 “Brutti sporchi e cattivi” (Ugly, Dirty & Bad), in which Manfredi completely transforms himself into the detestable Giacinto Mazzatella. The film follows a poverty-stricken family devoid of morals living in the slums of Rome. Giacinto receives a large sum of insurance money after an accident causes him to go blind in one eye. Everyone wants a piece of his fortune, so he hides his money and sleeps with a rifle. When he falls for Iside, a promiscuous young woman, he wines and dines her, and eventually moves her into his home to live alongside his wife and children. Feeling disgraced, his wife cooks up a plot to kill him.
- Written by Jeannine Guilyard for the April issue of Fra Noi Magazine. Click here to subscribe.