Film advertising: Italian question marks

Looking through the Italian 1910s periodical Film, I regularly noticed adverts for coming attractions/productions that prominently use question marks. As a tactic to heighten suspense, I really liked this visual device. So, enjoy an image gallery of these Italian film advertisement question marks!

What will Savoia-Film of Torino come up with next?

Film 06 del 1919 Savoia Film sml

Film no. 06 of 1919 (23 February 1919)

Considering the company went into a suspension in 1918 from which it did not recover, the answer is: very little.

Short-lived company Megale-Film (Roma/Napoli) take a similarly enigmatic approach.

Film 23 del 1917 Megale

Film no. 23 of 1917 (30 July 1917)

Principesca Film of Rome announce “four grand subjects”: a love story, an adventure film, a “colossal biblical reconstruction” and a powerful modern ciné-tragedy in four parts and a prologue.

Film 37 del 1917 (12Dec1917) sml

Film no. 37 del 1917 (12 December 1917)

One of my favourites:

Film 21 1917 Vania Krasiensky sml

Film no. 21 of 1917 (04 July 1917)

The film is actually Zeus, directed by Aldo Molinari and starring Vania Krasiensky, a Polish dancer according to the caption. Here’s another advert from later the same month with the full title, though still a lavish use of decorative punctuation.

Film 23 del 1917 Vania Zeus sml

Film no. 23 del 1917 (30 July 1917)

Not much context to the following image, which is a rather subtle ad for the productions of Alfonso De Giglio—that’s his emblem at lower right. De Giglio also produced L’atleta fantasma (1919), featuring a masked hero who wore a chain-mail headdress.

Film 08 del 1919 sml

Film no. 08 of 1919 (23 March 1919)

And an emphatic appearance from the classical Italian strongman himself:

Film 02 del 1918 Maciste sml

Film no. 02 of 1918 (22 January 1918)

Fernanda Negri-Pouget began in films early (1906), and seems to enjoyed a particular vogue in the mid-to-late teens, judging by the frequency of ads for her films. Miss Fluffy Ruffles of 1918 was advertised heavily and quite lavishly.

Film 14 del 1919 Fernanda Negri-Pouget

Film no. 14 del 1919 (31 May 1919)

History has not remembered Lora Darcy, who does not even have an IMDb listing.

Film 22 del 1918 Lola Darcy sml

Film no. 22 del 1918 (07 August 1918)

Megale-Film are back! Now they’re teasing us with Alberto Capozzi’s next project:

Film 13 del 1918 Megale sml

Film no. 13 del 1918 (22 May 1918)

An adaptation of the famous ‘opera’ by ‘Schakespeare’:

Film 02 del 1918 Lady MacBeth sml

Film no. 02 del 1918 (19 January 1918)

Supposedly directed by Enrico Guazzoni of Quo Vadis? (1912) fame, I can find no traces of this Macbeth adaptation—so the mystery of who would play Lady Macbeth remains forever unsolved.

A film that did find life:

Film 32 del 1919 Rouge et Noir sml

Film no. 32 of 1919 (16 October 1919)

That’s Il rosso e il nero (1920). Per the IMDb listing, Mario Bonnard and Maria Caserini seem to have been the leads.

What next for G. Ardizzone’s film exchange in Palermo?

Film 03 del 1917 sml

Film no. 03 of 1917 (27 January 1917)

Not quite the same as the other adverts presented here, but I couldn’t resist this ad for … E dopo? (1918), directed by Febo Mari, that key auteur of the Italian silent era.

Film 06 del 1919 Febo Mari sml

Film no. 06 del 1919 (23 February 1919)

Leading actress Nietta Mordeglia, pictured in the circle, was Mari’s long-term partner. Note also the ‘FM’ logo in the point of the question mark. … E dopo? is not known to survive.

What are Cines up to?

Film 08 del 1919 CInes sml

Film no. 08 of 1919 (23 March 1919)

From the director and story source, the answer appears to be the title Cosmopolis (1920), which—in his third appearance in this post!—stars Alberto Capozzi.

Gigi Armandis presents “I beniamini del pubblico”: ‘the darlings of the public’. However, I’m unable to identify a collaboration between him and Roberto Bracco.

Film 21 1917 Armandis sml

Film no. 21 of 1917 (04 July 1917)

Another actress lost to time: Claretta Rosaj (aka Clarette Rosaj and Claretta Rosay). Here Caesar Film announce a series of films starring the “charming and elegant” (vezzosa ed elegantissima) actress. The same page advertises several films starring Gustabo Serena and Tilde Kassay, as well as several of Francesca Bertini’s films, including La piovra | The Octopus (1919).

Film 21 del 1918 Claretta Rosaj sml2  Claretta Rosaj post-card
Film no.21 del 1918 (31 July 1918); postcard of Ms. Rosaj.

Two films Rosaj made at Caesar are Fiaccole | Torches (1918) and Giorgia (1919). Her 1922 film Tragedia di bambola | Tragedy of a Doll survives at Eastman House.

Filmgraf were doing the hard sell—the below advert for Aquile umane appears several times. The film seems to have been released under the title Aquile romane (1919), which rather undermines Filmgraf’s publicity efforts. Side note: it’s another film in which Gustavo Serena acted.

Film 25 del 1918 Aquile umane sml  Film 31 del 1918 Aquile umane sml
Film no. 25 of 1918 (31 August 1918); Film no. 31 of 1918 (31 October 1918)

And lastly, this may not be a question mark, but this kind of nightmare fuel deserves to be shared widely:

Film 21 del 1917 Film DEccezione terrifying sml

Film no. 21 del 1917 (04 July 1917)

Film d’eccezione appear to have been a short-lived company, and with this kind of approach … it’s not hard to see why.

??? … and grazie mille!!!

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2 Responses to Film advertising: Italian question marks

  1. Don’t think your awesome scholarship goes unappreciated

    Liked by 1 person

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