The continuous cycle of film projection in the Museum’s room dedicated to Alfa Romeo in the movies is now enriched with new films. From the chases in the grey-green Giulia provided to Italian police forces to Gina Lollobrigida on the 33 Stradale, from Dustin Hoffman’s “Duetto” on the Golden Gate bridge in “The Graduate” to Riccardo Scamarcio’s red Spider.
There is the breathtaking race in “The Marseille Contract”, a detective film from 1974 directed by Robert Parrish, with Michael Caine driving an Alfa Romeo Montreal that seems to dance with a Porsche 911. The film features a courtship not only between a man and a woman, but also between one car and another. And then there is the unfailing grey-green Giulia driven by Maurizio Merli – the driver of the State Police flying squad, Marco Palma – who gives no respite to the criminals in “Poliziotto sprint”, a film from 1977 directed by Stelvio Massi: the same classic Giulia which for more than twenty years was the “flying squad” provided to the Italian Police and other public security forces for emergency operations.
Very different vehicles, with one thing in common: they are always the stars, of society, of costume, and therefore, of the cinema.
The films in which Alfa Romeo cars had a leading role on the silver screen are hundreds; so many that they deserved a dedicated room at the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo in Arese – a room fittingly called “Always a star”. In this room, two actual “stars” preside to represent the long love story between the cinema and the company of the Biscione: two icons like Giulietta spider and Duetto, and behind them, on a maxi screen, run the fragments of the films that contributed to writing the history of the myth.
Initially launched with a smaller core of films, the review “Always a star” – which is projected without interruption during the museum’s opening hours – is now enriched with new films.
An absolute must was the desperate chase of Benjamin Braddock-Dustin Hoffman on the Golden Gate on board the red Duetto in “The Graduate” (1967), red like passionate love, romantic like the soundtrack by Simon & Garfunkel. The Duetto, this time in white, also stars in a memorable scene in “The Arrangement” by Elia Kazan where it appears in the grey metropolis with an enigmatic Kirk Douglas who drives along the urban highways of the city.
The Giulietta spider – an icon of the Dolce Vita - bursts forward with Daniel Day-Lewis behind the wheel and shoots through the Roman ruins in a scene of the film “Nine” (2009), a musical directed by Rob Marshall, where it seems to throw its aura over the archeological monuments like a breath of immortal beauty.
But there are also true pieces of history: as in “L’ultimo incontro”, a film from 1951 set in the motor-racing world featuring Juan Manuel Fangio, Nino Farina, Consalvo Sanesi, Hans von Stuck and Luigi Fagioli. On the Monza circuit a young Amedeo Nazzari – starring as Piero Castelli, the testing mechanic of Alfa Romeo – unsuspecting of the tragedy that is about to happen, watches from the pits as the 159 Alfetta races towards its end.
Just like “Rocco and his brothers” by Luchino Visconti is a piece of history, not only due to the cars featured in it, but above all due to the stream of workers who, summoned by the siren, line up under the big sign “Alfa Romeo” at the Portello, in via Gattamelata in Milan.
From the roar of the flame-red 33 Stradale which “flies at three hundred an hour” along the Sicilian countryside, enchanting Gina Lollobrigida in “Un bellissimo novembre” – a film by Mauro Bolognini with music by Ennio Morricone – we reach our day with Riccardo Scamarcio and Nicole Grimaudo riding an Alfa red Spider 20.0 racing through the streets of Lecce (“Mine vaganti” by Ferzan Ozpetek, year 2010). Again Alfa Romeo, again a star.
The Museo Storico Alfa Romeo “La macchina del tempo” in Arese (Milan) in viale Alfa Romeo. Open every day from 10 to 18, closed on Tuesdays.