Sog.: dal romanzo omonimo di Auguste Bailly. F.: Maurice Forster, Gaston Chelle. Int.: Gina Manès (Costanzella), Gaston Modot (Pinattucchio), Aline Dunin (Sylvia d’Andia), Georges Charlia (Antonio Arcella), Vera Kanchielova (la marchesa d’Andia). Prod.: Films Legrand
35mm. L: 1497 m (incompleto, l. orig.: 1880 m). D.: 66’ a 20 f/s. Col.
Serge Nadejdine is one of the many Russian filmmakers who moved to France following the Revolution. Almost nothing is known of his work in his homeland: born in 1880, he must have acted in and directed a number of films prior to 1917, however his name does not appear in any records.
We do know for certain that he was a ballet master, staging a number of shows at the Imperial Aleksandrinskij Theatre in St. Petersburg. In France, he directed four films between 1924 and 1925, and then his name disappeared completely. However, while the films of many of his more famous and celebrated colleagues are now considered lost, Nadejdine’s four films are fortunately still with us and in great condition, thanks to a careful restoration by Cinémathèque française.
Nadejdine came to Naples to shoot Naples au baiser de feu in 1924, bringing with him two actors whose casting was perfect for their roles: Gina Manès as the seductive Costanzella, and the grim Gaston Modot as a swindling begger. The film is no less remarkable than productions by Notari, Rotondo or Del Colle: Nadejdine brings the camera into the heart of 1920s Naples, in all of its sunny splendour and tragic social conditions; worth mentioning is a fleeting appearance by Teresa Fusco, the ‘zi Teresa’ of the famous Borgo Marinari restaurant, where a number of scenes are set.
Naples au baiser de feu was not passed fit by the Italian film censor: almost a century later, we are redressing the wrong.