De Filippo, Eduardo

De Filippo, Eduardo

(ādwär`dō dā fēlĭp`pō), 1900–1984, Neapolitan playwright and actor. In his scores of plays he combined pathos and farce. Napoli milionaria (1946) depicts postwar Naples, riddled with ruins and black-market corruption; Filumena Marturano (1946) concerns a loving prostitute who coaxes her lover into marriage. Both plays were made into successful motion pictures, the latter entitled Matrimonio all'italiana (Marriage Italian-Style, 1964). Among De Filippo's other well-known plays is Il figlio di Pulcinella (1957). Most of his plays are collected in Cantata dei giorni pari and Cantata dei giorni dispari (4 vol., 1951–59).


See R. W. Corrigan, Masterpieces of the Modern Italian Theater (1967).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

De Filippo, Eduardo


(pseudonym of E. Passarelli). Born May 24, 1900, in Naples. Italian dramatist, director, and actor.

Born into a family of actors, De Filippo made his stage debut at the age of 11. He began his work as a writer in 1926. In 1931 he formed his own acting company. He has adapted many works for the stage and has written many original plays that develop the democratic traditions of the Neapolitan folk theater in dialect, which derives from the commedia dell’arte. De Filippo began his career as a film actor in 1932 and as a film director in 1939 with the motion picture In the Fields a Star Fell.

De Filippo’s best works, in which the influence of R. Viviani, E. Scarpetta, and L. Pirandello may be seen, were written in the period after the fall of fascism. These were comedies in which he played the main role and for which he usually wrote the screenplay. Of these comedies the best known are Naples the Millionaire (stage production, 1945; author’s screenplay, Naples the City of Millionaires, 1950; Russian translation, 1959), Oh Those Phantoms! (1946; author’s screenplay, 1954; film directed by D. Risi, 1968; Russian translation, Phantoms, 1956), and Filumena Marturano (1947; author’s screenplay, 1951; film directed by V. De Sica, Marriage Italian Style, 1964; Russian translation, 1956). De Filippo’s humanistic and democratic art merged with the neorealist movement of the postwar years.

Notable among his plays of the 1950’s and 1960’s are Fear Number One (1951; Russian translation, 1957); My Family (1956; Russian translation, 1957); Vincenzo De Pretore (1957; Russian translation under the titles Nobody and Thief in Paradise, 1958); Saturday, Sunday, Monday (stage production 1960; Russian translation, 1962); Mayor of the Quarter Sanita (1961; Russian translation, 1962); The Art of Comedy (1965); Contract (1967); and Monument (1970). Films produced by De Filippo include Neapolitans in Milan (1953) and Fortunella (1958). His most important film roles (aside from his roles in films based on his own screenplays) have been in such films as The Girls From the Piazza di Spagna (1951), Gold of Naples (1954), and Everyone at Home (1961).

Central to De Filippo’s art is the life of the ordinary Italian in a hostile bourgeois society. His best plays affirm the necessity of active struggle against evil. The uniqueness of his dramatic work lies in its combination of socially significant themes and profound psychological insight with elements of farce and the grotesque. Many of his plays have been performed on the Soviet stage, and in 1962 De Filippo’s troupe toured the Soviet Union.


Cantata del giorni dispari, vols. 1–2. [Turin, 1957–58.]


Boiadzhiev, G. “E. De Filippo i ego geroi.” Teatr, no. 2, 1957.
Molodtsova, M. Eduardo de Filippo. Leningrad-Moscow, 1965.
De Sanctis, G. B. E. De Filippocommediografo neorealista. Perugia, 1959.
Magliulo, G. E. De Filippo. Bologna [1959].


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.