Did you happen to record Monty Python’s Flying Circus
when it was shown on PBS back in the 1970s?
Do you still have the tapes?
Is there a TIME LIFE logo at the end?
If so, please write to me. Thank you!

Click here to learn the story.


Untitled thriller


After the bannings of Ça ira, Chi lavora è perduto, NEROSUBIANCO, and L’urlo; and after the feuding over Yankee; and after the box-office failures of Dropout and La vacanza, Brass seemed to have a difficult time getting projects off the ground. The only reference I have found to this particular project was in Variety (1 September 1971, p. 29):

TINTO BRASS — Withdrew “The Shriek” from film-author program at Cannes last year and sent it to Berlin instead. Brass was in England filming “Dropout” as producer-director. He rolled another, “Vacation,” entirely on location along Adriatic Coast. To recover from financial stress of improvised filmmaking in the past two years, Brass goes commercial next month to film an untitled thriller.

He finally did make a commercial thriller in 1988, but it probably had nothing at all to do with this one.


After so many financial failures and so many vocal objections to his films from so many quarters, I’m amazed that Brass didn’t quit. If I had been in his shoes, I would have concluded that my movies hadn’t really been good after all, and I would have pursued another career. For some reason, though, Brass kept going, and he was right to have done so. He explained his compulsion, which he credited to his peculiar personal metabolism, to Nerio Minuzzo in L’Europeo (9 November 1967): “All this talk about cinematic æsthetics, I don’t understand it at all. My only problem is filming. If I go six months without putting my eye on a viewfinder I go mad.” But the question still arises: How was he able to keep going? His family were apparently well to do, and that probably helped, even if he was disinherited. And to top that off, his wife’s family are, as far as I can guess, wealthy. Brass’s wife, Carla Cipriani, who is known as Tinta, was an integral part of her family’s famous Locanda Cipriani in Venice, a luxury restaurant — which serves as a location for some of Brass’s films.

Locanda Cipriani
The Locanda Cipriani on Torcello
Jennie Schacht, “Una Bella Mangiata in Italia”

Tinto Brass wrote a lovely love letter to his wife on an earlier version of that first web site, but it has since disappeared. Oh well.

And a relative’s establishment, Harry’s Bar, was once upon a time the favorite hangout of numerous celebrities, Ernest Hemingway among them.

With such a background, moviemaking might not be easy, but it’s certainly not impossible. If you can afford it and if you’re having fun, why not continue — and damn the rest of the world, right?

[A bitter legal family battle a few years ago resulted in the owner of Harry’s Bar getting the exclusive right to use the Cipriani name for olive oil and condiments. Carla Cipriani should simply have adopted the name “Tinta” for her line of products.]

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