Tag Archives: diva films

Lina Cavalieri in Sposa nella morte! | The Shadow of Her Past (IT 1915)

Known as “the most beautiful woman in the world”, opera singer Lina Cavalieri starred opposite Caruso, was fêted by D’Annunzio, and was painted by Boldini. She began her career singing in the café-chantants of Rome, Naples, and Paris; rising to … Continue reading

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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 delayed!

Regular readers will know that in December, I usually publish a series of articles on the films of the Italian divas. Due to a heavy workload right now, I have to postpone this until early next year – so please … Continue reading

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Casa Lyda Borelli in Bologna

Lyda Borelli was already a celebrated theatrical actress and fashion icon when she burst into film with the seminal Ma l’amor mio non muore! (But my love will never die!; 1913). Her cinematic career was relatively sparse—over six years, she only … Continue reading

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Stacia Napierkowska on film

As dancer Marfa Koutiloff in Les Vampires (FR 1915-16), Stacia Napierkowska gave the silent cinema one of its most iconic images: a woman in a black bodystocking and great black bat wings, stretching and swirling as if to take flight. Later, she … Continue reading

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Pictorial emotion: the moods of Makowska

I always enjoy sets of photographs where an actor is pictured expressing a variety of emotions: ‘passion’, ‘hatred’, ‘sorrow’, ‘love’, ‘grief’, ‘surprise’, etc. A famous example of this phenomenon is this spread of Florence Lawrence (‘The Biograph Girl’), printed in A Pictorial … Continue reading

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Diva films about diva films

After spending some quality time with the films of Borelli, Menichelli, and Makowska, now I want to cast my net a little wider. Diva films were a major force of the Italian film industry in the teens—but how did people perceive … Continue reading

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