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For those of you unfamiliar with this lost classic of Italian cinema, here’s the story behind it’s production, as related on Alrugo’s MySpace profile ; (sic throughout)…
“Alrugo Entertainment was founded in 1961 in Palermo, Italy by Orange Farming mogul Alfonso Alrugo. After collecting huge wealth in the citrus trade Alfonso decided to start a film production company that produced films that he felt “did the job”. Alfonso was very supportive of up and coming practitioners and helped to nurture the blossoming career’s of a spate of Italian Directors like Gianfranco Gatti, Massimilliano Buonatempi, Carlo Zoffa and of course Giacomo Dentibiachi.
Alrugo Entertainment began producing low budget, nudie cutie pictures such as Busto Busto (1961) and Sex Cops II (1962). During this period, Alfonso was to discover two men who would play a large role in the next part of his life, director Gianfraco Gatti and Actor Franco Franchetti. In 1964 Alrugo went into production of Gatti’s Opus, Italian Spiderman. Spiderman was a heavily adapted and abridged interpretation of a novel Gatti had read during a summer in Moldova entitled ‘Death Wears a Hat’. When applying for the option, however the Author felt Italian Spiderman held such little resemblance to his work that payment was not necessary and felt that his name should be distanced as far as possible form the production.
After three years of turbulent production and about 15 million dollars later (a sum unheard of for any production of the time) Italian Spiderman was finally completed in 1968. Even though Alrugo had survived the epic production period, a venture that Gatti described as “Opening the gates of hell” the company was in debt. There was no money left to distribute the picture, Alfonso pulled every last favour he had during the production process. In a desperate attempt to show Italian Spiderman to the world, Alfonso sent the only existing print across the atlantic on a cargo ship to a distributer friend of his in New York, the ship however, never reached it’s destination.
In the summer of 1969, Alfonso Alrugo closed the gates to Alrugo Entertainment and donned his orange picking glove once more. Gianfranco Gatti went on to direct hard core pornography and Franco Francheti died in a spear fishing accident. On Alfonso Alrugo’s dying wishes, his two Grandsons Vivaldi and Verdi Alrugo led an expeditioan to scour the Atlantic for the cargo ship carrying the only existing print of Italian Spiderman. On the 9th of January 2006, after four years at sea, they discovered the sunken vessle with the cans intact inside. In the excitement of this amazing discovery, Vivaldi and Verdi re-opened Alrugo Entertainment and spent two years restoring the full length print of Italian Spiderman from it’s water grave.
Vivaldi and Verdi believe that the internet is the best device to expose Italian Spiderman to the world. In November 07, they uploaded the Theatrical Trailer and in 2008, ten remastered excerpts form the feature will be roadcast for free over myspace, youtube, yahoo and other video hosting websites. Hopefully through the internet, the world will now have a chance to behold Alfonso Alrugo’s dream, Italian Spiderman.”
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