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BY 05/15

1895-2015: 120 YEARS OF CINEMA


The first motion picture seen by the public, and for this reason regarded as the starting point in the history of cinema, 120 years ago, was “Employees leaving the Lumière factory” (original title: La Sortie de l'Usine Lumière). With a running time of 45 seconds, shot by French brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière, it shows a group of workers leaving the company factory on the outskirts of Lyon. It was one of ten films shown at the first public cinema screening, on 28 December 1895, in the Salon Indien of the Grand Café on the Boulevard des Capucines in Paris. At the event, the Lumière brothers presented their patented cinématographe, a machine that could project on to a white screen a sequence of separate images recorded on a photographically printed film, giving the effect of motion. A few years earlier, in 1889, Thomas Edison had developed a motion picture camera (the Kinetograph) and a peep-hole viewer (the Kinetoscope): the camera was used to take a series of photographs in rapid succession on a 35 mm film, while the viewer enabled the sequence of images to be watched as a motion picture, by one person at a time. The Lumière brothers had the idea of projecting films, so that the show could be seen by large numbers of spectators. Cinematographic film was invented 130 years ago: it dates back to 1885 and was the brainchild of George Eastman, while the first filmed material (of a group of friends walking in a garden) is Roundhay Garden Scene, a 2-second film recorded on 14 October 1888 by Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince.

The Spanish production company Tandem Entertainment made this video, which, in just over three minutes, traces the main stages in cinematography over the last 120 years. Try identifying the titles of the films (a list is provided at the end of the video).

120 years watching movies together

Moto Guzzi first appeared in the movies in the 1940s and the immediate postwar period, in a number of Italian neo-realism films such as “An American in Rome” (1954) with Alberto Sordi, directed by Stefano Vanzina (Steno). In those years, the Falcone, Airone and Alce motorcycles – used by the police and the army – often appeared in contemporary films, ridden by soldiers, policemen, traffic wardens, or by light infantry bersaglieri riding the Alce in “El Alamein”.

In Steno’s “The Overtaxed” (1959), starring Totò and Aldo Fabrizi, a splendid Moto Guzzi GTV with sidecar appears. In “Don Camillo and the Hon. Peppone” (1955) with Fernandel and Gino Cervi, a Moto Guzzi Sport 14 with sidecar can be seen, while Luciano Salce’s “The Fascist” (1961) with Ugo Tognazzi and George Wilson features a Moto Guzzi S, again with sidecar. Moto Guzzi bikes could also be seen over the following years in a number of films from famous directors: “The Traffic Policeman” (1960) by Luigi Zampa, with the lead role of the incorruptible and obnoxious traffic policeman played by Alberto Sordi riding a Falcone Sport; “Accattone” by Pier Paolo Pasolini (1961; in his 1962 movie “Mamma Roma” with Anna Magnani, Pasolini used a Gilera Giubileo 150 motorcycle); Federico Fellini’s “Rome” (1972) and “City of Women” (1980); in the latter, the protagonist played by Marcello Mastroianni is driven around on a Super Alce 500 ridden by a woman. In “The Road”, also by Fellini, a Moto Guzzi Ercole pick-up appears (in “The Clowns”, 1971, Fellini chose a Gilera Saturno with sidecar). The MG Ercole can also be seen in “The Girls of San Frediano” (1955).

Moto Guzzi motorbikes soon left Italy and headed for the USA. The California bikes were at home in Hollywood in the 1970s and 1980s, when the splendid Italian two-wheelers were used by the American police A procession of police officers riding California bikes appears in the opening scenes of “Octopussy” (1983) starring Roger Moore, while a decade earlier Sean Connery was seen on the saddle of a V7 backstage on the set of film “Diamonds are Forever” (1971). Carabinieri riding Moto Guzzi bikes also appear in Roberto Benigni’s masterpiece “Life is Beautiful” (1997, winner of three Oscars).

Thirty-six years separate these two photos: 1971, Sean Connery (Edinburgh, 1930) backstage during the making of “Diamonds are forever”, immortalised in the saddle of the V7 California – a standard issue bike for US police forces at the time; 2007, Ewan McGregor (Perth, 1971), guest of honour at the international “World Moto Guzzi Days” rally at Mandello del Lario, astride a California Vintage (Source: Wide Piaggio Magazine, march 2010).

In more recent years, Moto Guzzi motorcycles have appeared in important films such as “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” (2001) directed by John Madden, with Nicholas Cage and Penelope Cruz. Bersaglieri were once more in the saddle of Moto Guzzi Alce bikes in Enzo Monteleone’s war film “El Alamein – The Line of Fire” (2002), winner of three David di Donatello awards; the MG V7 was ridden by Sergio Castellitto “Caterina in the Big City” (2003) directed by Paolo Virzì. Guzzi motocycles also appear in the US police drama “Life”, broadcast by NBC from 2007-2009 and the main European networks. A few years ago, the Italian TV drama “All Stars” included the Stelvio and the V7 Classic. The Guzzi Griso SE was glimpsed in episodes of the TV film “Person of Interest”, say friends of the GrisoGuzzi.it blog, who also report Bruce Willis on the Griso in a scene of “The Surrogates” (2009).
Among the most recent appearances, the Moto Guzzi 1000 S co-starred in Eric Tretbar’s “Girl Meets Bike” (2012).

GIRL MEETS BIKE movie trailer


Cilindri Italiani, the Moto Guzzi V7 Club Italia website, has collected the titles of the films in which the V7 appears. The total is more than 50, from Italy and abroad, on TV and in the cinema. This is the work of a true devotee, and offers some unexpected surprises. Here’s the list: Sabato, domenica e venerdì (1979); Mani di velluto (1979); The Fall Guy, Ep. 1.04 (1981); The Fall Guy, Ep. 1.14 (1982); Night Train Murders (1975); Italia a mano armata (1976); La faille (1974); Il Presidente del Borgorosso Football Club (1970); Trastevere (1971); Il Gatto Mammone (1975); La moglie più bella (1970); Io sono un autarchico (1976); Sette Note in Nero (1977).

Moto Guzzi V7 Collection - Vol. 8
The Outfit (1973); Waiting for Fidel (1974); Larga noche de Julio (1974); La poliziotta a New York (1981); La poliziotta (1974); Rats - Notte di terrore (1984); Troppo forte (1986); La califfa (1971); La donna della domenica (1975); La orca (1976); The Infidel (2010).

Moto Guzzi V7 Collection - Vol. 7
Scuola di ladri (1986); Ecce Bombo (1978); Der Kommissar - "Schwierigkeiten eines Außenseiters " - Ep. 78 (1974).

Moto Guzzi V7 Collection - Vol. 6
Le fantôme de la liberté (1974); Night on Earth (1992); Escape to Witch Mountain (1975); Starsky & Hutch - "La ragazza di Starsky", Series 2 Ep.19 (1976); Viuuulentemente mia (1982); Cannonball (1976); Un Prophète (1968).

Moto Guzzi V7 Collection - Vol. 5
Octopussy (1983); Jake 2.0 - "Guardia del corpo" - Series 1 Ep.11 (2003); Warrior of the Lost World (1983); Thank God it’s Friday (1978).

Moto Guzzi V7 Collection - Vol. 4
L'ingorgo - Una storia impossibile (1979); Year of the Gun (1991); Baretta - Serie 1 Ep. 6 (1975); Assault on Precinct 13 (1976); Le Clan des Siciliens (1969); The Car (1977); Identikit (1974); Gräsänklingar (1982); Hooper (1978); Harold and Maude (1971).

Moto Guzzi V7 Collection - Vol. 2
Caterina va in città (2003); The Electric Horseman (1979); Milano odia: la polizia non può sparare (1974); Magnum Force (1973).