Sog.: dalla commedia omonima di Tebaldo Cicconi; Scen.: Luciano Doria; F.: Ubaldo Arata; Int.: Italia Almirante Manzini (Maria /Noemi Keller), Lido Manetti (count Paolo di Santa Fiora), Alberto Collo (an unlucky lover), Oreste Bilancia, Alfonso Cassini, Bianca Renieri; Prod.: Fert, Torino; Pri. pro.: 12 febbraio 1922. 35mm. L. or.: 1370 m. L.: 1062 m. D.: 75’ a 16 f/s. Tinted.
This film confirms Mario Almirante and Italia Almirante-Manzini as two of the most eminent figures of 1920s Italian cinema. The story (scripted by Luciano Doria) narrates an amour fou reminiscent of the dual love story of Vertigo, unfolds with sensual credibility and allows Italia Almirante-Manzini to build up a compelling and complex character with multiple facets – something rare for a diva. The photography (by Ubaldo Arata) is clear and rich in warmth, the colouring meticulous, while the competent use of shots and several camera movements reveals the stylistic scope of Ms. Almirante and her striving to go beyond the models by then out-of-date in Italian cinema, especially in the star-based genre. We find all the elegance and pleasure of Rome of the early ’20s, the Russian ballets, the parties, the Exhibition Palace, Umbertine Rome, the duel at Villa Borghese… The son and grandson of stage performers, Mario Almirante wonderfully directs a great cast, where a young Oreste Bilancia, Alberto Collo and an excellent Alfonso Cassini particularly stand out. Nonetheless, everything gravitates around the double performance of Italia Almirante-Manzini, at the height of her beauty and screen magnetism, draped in satin dresses that seem on the verge of revealing her body. The events, like a snowstorm, carry away not only the characters but also the audience.
Gian Luca Farinelli
The press is not unanimous on this work. Some writers have even expressed a sort of spiritual revulsion towards the subject. That is a good sign. A work debated on, a work triggering emotion, is a noble work and one containing guaranteed vital sparks. And our cinema industry cannot but draw advantage from the simmering of rich juices and from the debate between keen honest spirits.
Aurelio Spada, “La rivista cinematografica”, no. 3, 10 February 1922