Co-founder of Two-Cities Films

Born: March 26, 1892 in Trani, Puglia, Italy

Died: December 31, 1962 (age 70) in Florence, Tuscany, Italy


Entrepreneurial Italian producer and administrator, who was responsible for creating some of the most quintessentially British films made in the 1940's. Del Guidice came from a legal background, having worked for the Vatican. He left his native country in 1933, in part, because of financial difficulties, but also due to deep-felt disaffection with the Fascist regime. He settled in London, first as a teacher of Italian, then setting up his own law practice. Four years later, he had found the financial backing to establish Two Cities Films in conjunction with the director Mario Zampi. The success of his first venture, Noël Coward's In Which We Serve (1942), secured the patronage of J. Arthur Rank and led to other ambitious projects, including Blithe Spirit (1945), The Way to the Stars (1945) and Odd Man Out (1947). Raising the finances for the production of Laurence Olivier's patriotic epic Henry V (1944) -- in all, 470,000 pounds -- forced him to surrender controlling interest in the company to the Rank Organisation.

After the expensive failure of Men of Two Worlds (1946), Rank sought to establish tighter financial and artistic control over Two Cities. Unhappy, Del Guidice resigned in 1947. For a short time, he lived in seclusion at a monastery, but soon emerged to establish a new company, Pilgrim Pictures Limited. Under his administrative auspices, Pilgrim produced just three films -- The Guinea Pig (1948), Private Angelo (1949) and Chance of a Lifetime (1950) -- all opened to mixed critical reviews and none recouped their cost at the box office. After the British Home Office refused his application for another visa in 1958, Del Guidice made several unsuccessful attempts to raise money for other projects in America and Italy. However, he never made another film and died penniless in Florence five years later.