T. copia: Cirkus Diomedes. Scen.: Mario Guaita- Ausonia, Renee Deliot. F.: Cesarino Muzio, Carlo Rifaldi. Scgf.: G. Miglioli. Int.: Mario Guaita-Ausonia (Diomede), Elsa Zara (la padroncina del circo), Adelina Bonaiuti, Dino Bonaiuti, Frank Bull, cavalier Canardi. Prod.: Films A. De Giglio. 35mm. L.: 1719 m. D.: 84’ a 18 f/s. Bn e imbibito (da Jan Ledecky).
Having met him first as a slightly inept Spartaco (in his 1913 success), it was a delight to discover in the Mario Guaita-Ausonia of 1920 the most attractive ‘forzuto’ among the Macistes, Galaors and Sansones who populated Italian popular cinema at the time. He is actually something better than a forzuto: a handsome film star, with a very good body. It would be a crime to give away the finale of La cintura delle Amazzoni (presumed a lost film but actually in perfect health, preserved by the Narodní filmový archív), so no spoilers – only a promise of fun, elegance and erotic innuendos. And a grateful thought to the screenwriter, Renée Deliot.
Renée Deliot (1881-1960) was Mario Guaita’s screenwriter and wife (and co-director, according to the cameraman Fiorio, who worked with Guaita in France). Their relationship lasted 37 years, even if they only were married toward the end of their lives, in 1955. Deliot met Guaita in 1919 and they started working together that same year. Guaita had become famous in the 1910s when, as a member of the Trio Ausonia, he appeared in athletic performances and in tableaux vivants based on renowned paintings and sculptures. In 1912, he started to act for the cinema under the alias Ausonia. Deliot’s screenwriting work began with L’atleta fantasma (1919). She demonstrated a complete mastery of the techniques and tools of cinematic storytelling, drawing inspiration from everything, from popular narratives and high literature to front-page news and stage melodramas. In Italy the couple released over ten films in less than four years – among them Atlas (1920) and La cintura delle Amazzoni. In 1923 they emigrated to France, where they continued production at a similar pace until 1926. Deliot presents Ausonia’s character as a sturdy gentleman, handsome and good-hearted, a sort of superman avant la lettre, with similarities to characters such as Arsène Lupin and Fantômas. In every film, his strong muscular body is in the spotlight as Deliot continually highlights his athletic prowess. It is worth noting that Deliot’s female characters show physical strength as well, and are often modern and dynamic, playing active roles alongside Ausonia.
Micaela Veronesi, Renée Deliot, in Monica Dall’Asta, Jane Gaines, Radha Vatsal (eds.), Women Film Pioneers Project, Columbia University Libraries, New York 2018