Tag Archives: Museo Nazionale del Cinema

Pride and passion: Pina Menichelli in Il padrone delle ferriere (1919)

Aristocracy, hubris, and hauteur: these are the main ingredients in Itala-Film’s Il padrone delle ferriere | The Master of the Ironworks (1919), starring the majestic Pina Menichelli. I’d intended to cover another 1917 film in this Diva December entry, but when the Museo … 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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1918: Fragments of Menichelli. On the trail of “Gemma di Sant’Eremo” and “La passeggiera”

Recently, I was reading Italo Calvino’s wonderful book If on a winter’s night a traveller (1979), and the following line stuck in my mind: The dimension of time has been shattered, we cannot love or think except in fragments of … Continue reading

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Hesperia! The diva as star attraction in Emilio Ghione’s Anime Buie (IT 1916)

Today marks the 99th anniversary of the première of Anime Buie | Dark Souls, fourth in a series of films featuring the character Za La Mort, an honourable French apache (street criminal gang member) and his adventures in the criminal underworld and beyond. The character … Continue reading

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Oxilia, Menichelli, 1915: two short films

    Via the excellent Sempre in Penombra blog; via FilmoTeca de Catalunya’s digitized collections Until his career was cut short by World War I, Nino Oxilia was one of the most promising Italian directors of the teens. Formerly a playwright, he entered … 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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