cover image DINO: The Life and Films of Dino DeLaurentiis

DINO: The Life and Films of Dino DeLaurentiis

Tullio Kezich, Alessandra Levantesi, Dino de Laurentis, , trans. from the Italian by James Marcus. . Miramax, $25.95 (368pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-6902-2

Although this bio of Italy's most prolific movie producer doesn't quite descend into puffery, it does feel like an early, extended eulogy for the octogenarian. Italian film critics Kezich and Levantesi frequently refer to their subject as "our hero," but truth be told, it's hard not to like Dino. The story of how DeLaurentiis (b. 1919) bluffed and bargained his way through both the German and American occupation of Italy to help rebuild the devastated Italian film industry after WWII is as inspiring as any Horatio Alger fable. Unfortunately for the book, this bundle of energy, determination and charisma lacks the more monstrous vices and bitter rivalries that make reading about other moguls (e.g., Harvey Weinstein) so entertaining. DeLaurentiis is ever the diplomat. Speaking to the authors, his daughter Raffaella says, "[w]hen he talks about actors, directors, or other producers, he absolves them all. You'll have to try and ambush him, though, because otherwise the book will become extremely boring." Alas, Kezich and Levantesi never do. Nor do they offer much insight into DeLaurentiis's extraordinarily eclectic taste in movie projects, which range from King Kong , War and Peace and Flash Gordon to The Bible , Conan the Barbarian and La Strada . Instead of DeLaurentiis's work, the authors' primary focus is on the producer's second love, the Italian film diva Silvana Mangano. While this is an intimate portrait of a difficult marriage (she suffered from severe depression), it will likely be of much less interest in America than Italy, where DeLaurentiis and Mangano are still icons. 32 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW . (Mar.)

Forecast: Although Miramax plans ads and national appearances by DeLaurentiis, the book probably won't have a large American audience. It could get some play next year, when Baz Luhrmann's Alexander the Great, which DeLaurentiis is producing, is released.