Great Characters Wiki

Pietro "Beppo" Donnetti is the titular main protagonist of the 1915 silent film The Italian. He's an Italian gondolier who went to America to make a fortune so he could marry Annette Ancello.

He was portrayed by George Beban.

Why He Rocks

  1. George Beban does a memorable performance as an immigrant without enough American experience. His stage experience and personal appeal translated well to the screen, and he mastered the nuances of film acting better than many of his contemporaries.
  2. Not only is Beppo a very interesting and complex character, there are various scenes of him suffering in various ways that manage to evoke a lot of sympathy from the audience, especially as an immigrant.
  3. He and Annette have a sweet relationship with each other that feels genuine and honest. Plus the two of them would willingly put aside that own self-interests each other.
  4. He's shown to be a very clever and resourceful businessman during some of his moneymaking scenes and is an excellent shoe shiner. He was even able to earn enough money to afford a separate house for him and Annette to live in.
  5. During the scenes with his baby, he's proven to a be an extremely loving and protective father. In fact, when his baby got sick from a heatwave and had to be fed pasteurized milk to survive, Beppo went all out just to earn enough money to purchase that milk. Of course, he also knows how to be feisty when he has to be. When a realizes duo of thieves robbed him of some of the money needed for the milk, he physically assults them in an attempt to take back the money, which he unfortunately gets arrested for.
    1. There's also a separate scene he places flowers and sobbing over his son's grave. That's how much he cared about his late baby son.
  6. Towards the ending the film, there's a very powerful scene where he fights against his inner demon whether to seize an opportunity to get vengeance on Corrigan for ignoring his pleas with the baby by killing his already ill daughter in anger. Ultimately, his good side gets the best of him and he can't bring himself to do such an act, eventually though if he did so, nobody would know the difference and they'd assume it was from the illness. That takes a level of bravery.