Daniel Mann

Sog.: from pièce (1951) by Tennessee Williams. Scen.: Tennessee Williams. F.: James Wong Howe. M.: Warren Low. Scgf.: Hal Pereira, Tambi Larsen. Mus.: Alex North. Int.: Anna Magnani (Serafina Delle Rose), Burt Lancaster (Alvaro Mangiacavallo), Marisa Pavan (Rosa Delle Rose), Ben Cooper (Jack Hunter), Virginia Grey (Estelle Hohengarten), Jo Van Fleet (Bessie), Sandro Giglio (padre De Leo), Mimi Aguglia (Assunta). Prod.: Hal B. Wallis per Hal Wallis Productions, Paramount Pictures Corp. DCP. D.: 117’. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

As early as January 1950, the American press was talking about a new play by Tennessee Williams, The Rose Tattoo, which the author wanted to have Anna Magnani perform. In Paris [Williams and his companion Frank Merlo] met and dined with Anna. The writer’s goal was to have her perform it on Broadway, but she declined because her English was not good enough… In his notes for a portrait of Anna, the writer observes: “For we Americans, it is almost impossible to get a proper interview with Magnani… I managed to get close to her in Rome only after promising Roberto Rossellini, her director and friend, that I did not intend to interview her, rather that I was just someone who deeply loved her art. I was not exaggerating. I have not often felt so moved by a film actor. Only by Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo, Gérard Philipe and a handful of Italian actors, and amongst these, Magnani is certainly the one who touches the heart the most deeply.”

Matilde Hochkofler, Anna Magnani. La biografia, Bompiani, Milan 2018

In order to redefine the style of her performance, Anna Magnani does many different things, taking advantage of  the gamut of emotions displayed by the character of Serafina Delle Rose. One of the first things she does consists of the detailed study of posture and the recycling of performance techniques typical of the Italian stage in the late-nineteenth century, the tradition in which she gained her formation and to which the sudden changes of rhythm, typical of her film performances can be traced. A second strategy is to reshape the screenplay, both by alternating between English and Italian and by underlining, through repetition, key lines of dialogue in the most significant scenes in the story. And finally, this reinvigorated set of actor’s tools finds additional expression through the costumes she wears […]. Magnani takes advantage of the broad emotional range of the character Serafina – her maternal instinct, her sorrow, jealousy, pride, desire, sensuality – in order to lay out her actor’s tools and unleash the exceptional range of gestures and acting techniques of which she is capable.

Chiara Tognolotti, Il gesto e la voce, in Effetto Magnani, edited by Giulia Carluccio, Federica Mazzocchi, Giulia Muggeo and Maria Paola Pierini, Cue Press, Imola 2022

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courtesy of Park Circus