I always had a passion for music, and was of course enthused when I was offered the part of a young violinist in the new comedy produced by Titanus. The director, Giulio Petroni, was looking for a girl “per bene” (of good family). Elena had to be the unwavering support of the young runner Caesar (played by Riccardo Garron) on the hundred kilometers circuit.
Elena, violonist at Santa Cecilia
Three men want to win a foot race around Rome.
Caesar, a penniless young carpenter, aims to exceed one hundred kilometers.
The lawyer Corsetti has enrolled after a lost bet. The third is a former champion
who does not want to disappoint his son.
For a few minutes of a filmed concert, I remember working a lot with a music teacher. The hands’ position, the musical chords. Everything had to be believable. I had to give the illusion of mastering the instrument. I think I spent the rest of the film running!
I followed the competition and punctuated with brief appearances the various stages of the race.
The role of Elena was a thread through the whole picture.
I remember shooting the film for at least two months. Titanus (1) could afford this kind of productions.
With Tocacceli ( Massimo Girotti )
Petroni led the team with an iron fist. He was sometimes irascible.
Especially with me. He took a malicious pleasure in having me redo my swimming scenes when Cesar is drowning in the pond. He probably did so in order to punish me for discouraging his courtship during filming.
Petroni tried to maintain a certain level of energy among actors.
Like other Italian directors (2), he advised us not to follow dialogues to the letter and recreate the situation according to our inspiration. It was a good way to inject spontaneity and life in the movie. That approach was totally opposed to the german way of respecting the script to the last comma.
I have fond memories of La cento chilometri and most of my other Italian films.
1 – They helmed two classics of fear by Italian master Mario Bava : The Girl Who Knew Too Much (aka The evil eye) and Black Sunday.
2 - I ‘m reminded of Claudio Gora on the set of Tre straniere a Roma.