Tag Archives: EFG

I act, therefore IAM: Italia Almirante Manzini in Notte di tempesta (1916)

Italia Almirante Manzini was a major diva of the Italian silents who has, so far, been mentioned on this blog only briefly. I like her a lot—she’s always fun and engaging to watch. Despite a stately appearance, I perceive a certain gentle wryness … 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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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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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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Emilie Sannom, daredevil of the movies

In the history of film, the 1910s was the premier decade for female action stars. Long before Ellen Ripley became the prototype for the modern female badass, silent movie screens were filled with fearless women, female daredevils, adventurers and spies. … Continue reading

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The film star performing the film star: Asta Nielsen in Die Filmprimadonna (DE 1913)

“Lower the flags in her honour; she is incomparable and without peer.” So wrote early film theorist Béla Balázs of Asta Nielsen in his 1924 book Der Sichtbare Mensch (The Visible Man). It is well-known that Nielsen was one of the first international … 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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Cinema Ritrovato from afar: Bertini’s Assunta Spina (IT 1915)

Are you at Il Cinema Ritrovato in Bologna right now? The festival features the new restoration of one of my true loves, Rapsodia Satanica; the Keaton project; several other diva films; Gaumont at 120; the Technicolor section; and so much more … Sadly, I am … Continue reading

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Retracing the history of an action blockbuster at 100: Il jockey della morte | The Jockey of Death (IT 1915) and its sequel, Il circo della morte (1916)

A stolen child, a skeleton mascot, a circus act, and a stunt-filled chase as a man in a skeleton suit and a female acrobat go on the run: continuing this month’s theme of ‘Adventure 1915’ is Il jockey della morte, an Italian … 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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