- Loy, Nanni
- (1925-1995)(Giovanni Loy.) Actor, director, screen-writer. Born into an aristocratic family in Sardinia, Loy moved to Rome in his teens and attended the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia while studying at university for his law degree. After serving an apprenticeship as assistant director on a number of films, including Luigi Zampa's Processo alla citta (The City Stands Trial, 1952) and Anni facili (Easy Years, 1953), he collaborated with Gianni Puccini on the direction of Parola di ladro (Honor among Thieves, 1957) and Il marito (The Husband, 1957) before directing his first solo film, Un audace colpo dei soliti ignoti (Fiasco in Milan, 1959), a sequel to Mario Monicelli's enormously popular I soliti ignoti (1958) that many judged to be almost as good as the original. The success of the film allowed Loy to make two films on the war, Un giorno da leoni (A Day as Lions, 1961) and Le quattro giornate di Napoli (The Four Days of Naples, 1962), the latter a remarkably realistic recreation of a popular uprising staged by the people of Naples against the occupying German forces in 1943. The film was widely acclaimed, winning three Nastri d'argento as well as two Academy Award nominations, and brought a number of offers from Hollywood, which Loy declined in favor of working for Italian television and producing Specchio segreto (Secret Mirror, 1965), a program inspired by the American Candid Camera format. He nevertheless also soon returned to the big screen with the multiepisode Made in Italy (1965), a satirical look at Italian attitudes and habits, and II padre di famiglia (The Head of the Family, 1967), a portrait of the dashed expectations of an entire generation told through the history of one particular family. He took up the theme of the war again, although in a decidedly comic vein, in Rosolino Paternd soldato (Situation Normal: All Fouled Up, 1970) followed by a Kafkaesque voyage through the Italian judicial and penal system in Detenuto in attesa di giudizio (Why, 1971), which earned Alberto Sordi a David di Donatello for his acting and the film a nomination for the Golden Bear at Berlin. After Sistemo l'America e torno (I Fix America and Return, 1973) Loy turned again to television to make Viaggio in seconda classe (Traveling in Second Class, 1977), a program that examined changes in Italian society using a Candid Camera format similar to the earlier Specchio segreto. Cafe Express (1980), a caustic comedy celebrating the Italian propensity for making do, was followed by Mi manda Picone (Picone Sent Me, 1984), which highlighted the extensive social problems in a Naples ever more infiltrated by the camorra. Loy's fascination with Naples, which he regarded as his adopted city, blossomed again in the delightful musical drama Scugnizzi (Streetkids, 1989) and in his final film, Pacco, doppio pacco e contropaccotto (Package, Double Package and Counterpackage, 1993). In the 1990s, as well as making films and producing television programs, Loy directed a number of stage productions, including Italian versions of Neil Simon's Last of the Red Hot Lovers and Beth Henley's Crimes of the Heart.
Historical dictionary of Italian cinema. Alberto Mira. 2010.