Between 1949 and 1956, Luchino Visconti directed Marcello Mastroianni onstage seven times, mostly in Rome. Reflecting the early years of what David Thomson called “Visconti’s taste for high–minded literary thunder,” Mastroianni played the younger son in Death of a Salesman, Michail Astrov in Uncle Vanya, and Mitch in A Streetcar Named Desire, among others.
For their first film together, Visconti and Mastroianni chose Dostoevsky’s “White Nights”—also the source for Robert Bresson ’s Quatre nuits d’un rêveur—the story of a lonely, nameless narrator and his brief, unfulfilled encounter with an unattainable young woman. Visconti’s 1957 version, LE NOTTI BIANCHE/WHITE NIGHTS, co-stars Maria Schell and Jean Marais.
Ten years later, after Alain Delon dropped out of the role, Mastroianni—by then an international star—reunited with the director to play Meursault in LO STRANIERO/THE STRANGER, an unjustly forgotten film unavailable on DVD. Anna Karina and Bernard Blier co-star.
As part of their Il bello Marcello series, the Film Society of Lincoln Center will screen both Visconti/Mastroianni collaborations in beautiful 35 mm prints from the Istituto Luce Cinecittà.
Thursday, May 25, at 2 pm.
Saturday, May 27, at 7 pm, and Tuesday, May 30, at 4:15 pm.
Walter Reade Theater
165 West 65th Street, New York City.
Top: Marcello Mastroianni and Maria Schell in Le Notti bianche.
Above: Jean Marais (left), Schell, and Mastroianni on set, Le Notti bianche. Image credit: AFP/Getty Images.
Below: Mastroianni in Lo Straniero.