Italian filmmaker Vittorio Cottafavi is best known for his dramatic historical epics, and though highly respected by a few French critics from the Cahiers du Cinema, he was generally regarded as competent by most reviewers. Born in Modena, Italy Cottafavi first studied law, philosophy and literature before enrolling in Rome's prestigious Centro Sperimentale du Cinematografia. He graduated in the late '30s and began working as a screenwriter. Cottafavi then became an assistant director to both Alessandro Blasetti and Vittorio de Sica. In 1943, Cottafavi made his directorial debut in I Nostri Sogni. He abandoned feature filmmaking in the late 1960s to begin helming television adaptations of classic literature.