Tag Archives: dangerous female sexuality

Diva ‘December’ returns – Fabienne Fabrèges in Signori giurati … (1916)

Welcome to (the now well-misnamed) Diva December! In this series, I look at examples of the Italian diva film, a genre that proliferated in 1910s Italy—for an overview, click here. This first instalment is devoted to a relatively obscure title, … Continue reading

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Diva December: Elena Makowska in Caino (IT 1918)

The holy trinity of Lyda Borelli, Francesca Bertini, and Pina Menichelli are generally considered the crème de la crème of diva film actresses. Yet, of course, there were many others working in this loosely-defined genre: prominent names include Hesperia, Leda … Continue reading

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“Gossip is a fearful thing”: Ruan Lingyu’s 新女性 | New Women (CN 1935)

I’ll be in China in less than a week! So this seems like an appropriate time to take a look at another Chinese film from Shanghai’s golden era: 1935’s 新女性 | New Women, starring Ruan Lingyu in a heart-breaking role. … Continue reading

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A Japanese man in America: Sessue Hayakawa reclaims … His Birthright (US 1918)

Japanese-born actor Sessue Hayakawa was one of the biggest talents of his era. In a time of intense anti-Asian sentiment (and, indeed, legally enshrined discrimination against Japanese people in America), he became one of Hollywood’s biggest names and richest stars. … Continue reading

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Diana, l’affascinatrice | Diana the Seductress (IT 1915)

This month I’m blogging on the theme ‘Adventure 1915’ – adventurous films at their 100th birthday. To Francesca Bertini for the first entry! It’s a treasured spy cliché – the agent who falls in love with their mark. In Diana l’affascinatrice, … Continue reading

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Feminine threat! Menichelli in La moglie di Claudio | The Wife of Claudius (IT 1918)

In 1918, Itala-Film released a film adaptation of Alexandre Dumas fils’ La Femme de Claude (1873), a play which updated the Messalina myth to 19th century France. The wife of Claudius, the legendary monstrous feminine – just what kind of woman is she, here in 1910s … Continue reading

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Il Fuoco | The Fire (IT 1915)

Il fuoco: la favilla, la vampa, la cenere. The fire: the spark, the flame, the ashes. Menichelli! Il fuoco was the film that established her as a major film diva, in which she plays the femme fatale par excellence. Like Rapsodia Satanica, Il … Continue reading

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Грёзы | Daydreams (RU 1915)

Daydreams is a story about love, grief, and the blindness that can result from these states. As the story opens, Sergei Nedelin (Aleksandr Vyrubov) is mourning his wife Elena, whom he had loved passionately. Out walking one day, he sees a … Continue reading

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Asta Nielsen’s Hamlet (DE 1921)

What if Hamlet was actually … a woman? That is the central premise of the 1921 film adaptation of Shakespeare’s play, starring Asta Nielsen in the role of Prince Hamlet. The concept is drawn from an 1881 publication, The Mystery … Continue reading

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Das Liebes-ABC | The ABC of Love (DE 1916)

Asta Nielsen: great actress, or greatest actress? She’s by far one of my favourite things about the silent era. Much has been written about her vitality, her versatility, and her charisma, so I won’t belabour the point – but it … Continue reading

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