Thursday, 11 June 2015

Also Known As...

Just finished reading the lead feature in this month's Wire magazine, an investigation into musicians' use of pseudonyms, aliases and alter-egos à la Sun Ra, Captain Beefheart and so on. All very interesting and philosophically rich stuff, especially so considering I myself use a secret identity for my Facebook account which allows me to move under the radars of FB-equipped friends and family. One thing that came to mind from reading the Wire article was that unique practice employed mainly during the halcyon days of low-budget Italian Cinema, of anglicizing cast, crew and director names to lend them a reassuringly American identity. Seasoned Euro-Cult watchers will be familiar with these pseudonyms but it's interesting to take a closer look at some of the more well known examples... For the export market, Lucio Fulci and Luigi Cozzi both settled for Louis Fuller and Lewis Coates - aliases that at least sounded like their own names, although Fulci's selection, used for the US cut of The Beyond, neatly echoed that film's Louisiana setting... Mario Bava's pseudonym John M. Old was, according to Tim Lucas on his commentary track for The Whip and the Body, in response to producers' request to pick "an old American name" and Bava wryly took them at their word... On international prints of A Fistful of Dollars, Sergio Leone appeared as Bob Robertson in honor of his father (who directed a number of Italian Silents under the name Roberto Roberti)... Bruno Mattei acknowledging the sizable debt Roman film producers owed George Romero, chose Vincent Dawn as an homage to Romero's influential living dead film... And perhaps my favourite of all, Jess Franco indulging his love of jazz, chose as his pseudonym Clifford Brown, a tribute to the virtuoso American trumpet player killed in a car crash in 1956, the year before Franco took his first tentative steps towards a life of film-making.

Credits clockwise from left: John M. Old (Mario Bava, Whip and the Body), Clifford Brown (Jess Franco, Devil Hunter), Louis Fuller (Lucio Fulci, Seven Doors of Death), Bob Robertson (Sergio Leone, A Fistful of Dollars), Vincent Dawn (Bruno Mattei, Zombie Creeping Flesh), Lewis Coates (Luigi Cozzi, Contamination)

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