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Interview de Mike Monty

Si nous aimons rire d'un certain cinéma déviant, nous sommes très loin de mépriser les hommes et les femmes qui s'y sont impliqués ou compromis. Il nous a ainsi paru enrichissant de faire raconter le nanar et son univers par les gens qui l'ont vécu de l'intérieur. La diversité des intervenants et de leurs réponses nous a rendu encore plus proches du cinéma que nous aimons : vous découvrirez, au fil des entretiens que ces différentes vedettes ont bien voulu nous accorder, des informations précieuses pour le cinéphile et le cinéphage, des anecdotes cocasses et, en esquisse, le portrait attachant de personnages souvent hauts en couleur.
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Mike Monty

Mike Monty, who passed away in august 2006, was an ubiquitous globe-trotter, holding a very special place in the history of cheesy cinema. This workman-like performer can be seen in a truckload of supporting parts: Italian B-movies, French soft-porn flicks and, during the 1980s, Filipino films, in which he became a permanent fixture. One year before his demise, we had been able to locate this missing link of filmdom, who agreed, from his home in the Philippines, to a telephone interview, thereby reconstructing a most unusual career!

Interview menée par Nikita

Mister Monty, first of all we thank you for agreeing to this interview. Since we know very little about you, we'd like to have some basic information about yourself. Is your real name Monty or Monti? Are you Italian-American, especially since you shared your life between Italy and the US? When and where were you born? How did you start in the acting field?

I was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on October the 23rd, 1936. I'm not Italian-American at all. My real name is actually Michael O'Donahue. I changed it to Monty because in the sixties it was better for actors to have short names. The Italians later misspelled it as Mike Monti in some film credits. I've been a professional actor since 1963. Actually, my mother wanted me to act when I was a kid and kept sending my photo to agencies, but I just wasn't interested. Then I found a job at a health club, where all these actors, like Steve Reeves and Gordon Mitchell came to work out, and they went to work in Italian films. So I also got an opportunity and got a part in an Italian film. There was a lot of work for an actor in Italy back then.

So you started to act in the early sixties. The IMDB actually lists your first film as being in 1972.

No, no, I made like fourteen westerns in the sixties... I played supporting parts in small productions. But I can't say if I was always credited. The Italians were tricky dealers. There was sometimes a little hanky panky going on about the money, like not paying you, etc, so sometimes I just didn't bother to be credited, let alone see the movies. I haven't kept a record of all my films. Sometimes they were released with completely different titles and I just didn't bother to check.

Do you have a favorite film in this period, nonetheless?

I can't really put my finger on one... Well, a film I really like is Thompson 1880, which I made in 1966 with Gordon Mitchell and Spanish actor George Martin.

Gordon Mitchell was a friend of yours, right?

Richard Harrison

A very good friend! We actually lived together for 10 years! Nothing sexual, mind you, we just shared the rent. (laughs) I also was good friends with Richard Harrison.

How was the working situation for an American supporting actor like you, in Italy?

Well, it was a lot of ups and downs. For foreign supporting actors, it was a bit tough. For one foreigner, they had to have five Italians on the sets. Sometimes we just didn't get to work, sometimes we were doing several films in a row, it depended.

Were you never tempted to go back to the States and work there?

I gave it a thought, especially when I had an opportunity to appear in a film Bob Hope was making in Italy. But I couldn't, because I was being involved in another production. However, it was very complicated to work in the States, because you had to join the Union, and all sort of things, so I didn't really bother.

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