Italy’s storied Titanus studio, producers of myriad golden era works from Cinema Italiano, has inked a global distribution deal with pubcaster RAI’s sales unit RAI Com for its entire library of roughly 400 titles.
The landmark agreement, besides distribution, entails a collaboration to restore and preserve the Titanus library, which is a treasure trove comprising early works by Italo masters such as Federico Fellini and Francesco Rosi, and Luchino Visconti classics, alongside plenty of genre fare including cult horror helmers Dario Argento and Mario Bava.
It’s a mix of classics and more rarely seen pics featuring a wide array of late and living Italo stars, comprising Alberto Sordi, Marcello Mastroianni, Sophia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida and Claudia Cardinale (pictured).
Established in 1904 by Gustavo Lombardo, Titanus was a true Italian major, which during the 1960s forged a partnership with MGM. They slowed down considerably from the mid-1960s onwards after Luchino Visconti’s lavish Sicily-set costumer “The Leopard” (1963) starring Cardinale and Alain Delon went way over budget. Since the mid-1980s the studio’s output has been on a much smaller scale, and primarily for TV.
Besides “The Leopard,” the Titanus archives include several other Italian cinema classics, such as Vittorio De Sica’s 1953 romantic comedy “Bread, Love and Dreams,” and Visconti’s neo-realist “Rocco and his Brothers” (1960), as well as Fellini’s early feature “Il Bidone” (1955) and Ermanno Olmi’s debut “Il Posto” (1961), to name a few.
Dario Argento’s “Phenomena,” “The Cat with Nine Tails” and “The Bird with the Crystal Feathers” are among its genre gems.
“The agreement with RAI Com allows us to preserve and modernize a cultural patrimony of which we have been jealous custodians over the years,” Titanus president Guido Lombardo said in a statement. “We are entrusting it to a capable partner who will be able to further enhance its value and global reach,” he added.
In an interview with Variety, RAI Com managing director Angelo Teodoli said Titanus will handle restoration of its films on RAI Com’s behalf, using top notch specialized laboratories, including Italy’s Cineteca di Bologna and others.
Teodoli said Titanus has made available to RAI Com a total of 174 films that are restored and in high-definition quality.
“By virtue of this agreement, the priority restoration of an additional 29 films has already been activated,” he added. Titanus titles now set for state-of-the-art restoration and digitalization include Francesco Rosi’s 1959 drama “I Magliari” about immigrant Italian workers seeking fortune in West Germany, and Valerio Zurlini’s 1961 romantic drama “Girl With a Suitcase,” starring Claudia Cardinale as a naive nightclub singer named Aida.
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