Cinema Lumiere - Sala Scorsese > 18:30


Augusto Genina
Piano accompaniment by

Antonio Coppola


Tuesday 27/06/2017


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

This is the penultimate of the eight films that Augusto Genina constructed around Carmen Boni, the adorable garçonne slightly reminiscent of Louise Brooks (whom the director was soon to encounter in Prix de beauté, almost as a proof of his authorial consistency when it comes to a particular type of star). It is a production from the period when Genina took refuge in Germany in order to survive the collapse of UCI and the decline of the Italian studios. As a result, it also displays a certain touristic intent, which the opening titles make clear: “This delightful comedy is set in the magnificence of Rome and its environs”. Piazza del Popolo, Trinità dei Monti, Castel S. Angelo, via Nazionale, the aristocratic palace of Count Bertini are the landmarks of a city which a skilled cinematography, wonderfully sensitive to the subtle shifts in weather, represents in all its varied hues. A delightful comedy, that’s for sure: if the rags, the clipped hair and the impetuousness of Carmen Boni can evoke icons of Neorealism (not to mention that shot of her breathless chase after a taxi taking away the engineer), the most immediate point of reference seems to be contemporary American comedy, and especially the comedies with low-class heroines and a fairy-tale flavour. Certainly, the film is also solidly based on the play of Niccodemi, a master of artificial constructions and lightning-quick resolutions, and a relevant source of inspiration for Italian cinema of the Twenties and Thirties. But if we consider the mise en scène, the functional use of interior and exterior spaces, the attention paid to the décor and the romantic climax (one of the neatest and most accomplished of Italian silent cinema, if one which critics of the time objected to because of its unfaithfulness to the original play), Genina does not seem that far from Frank Borzage’s films of the period. Only Livio Pavanelli, who maybe had spent too long languishing in the arms of Lyda Borelli, is not exactly a James Farrell and seems unable to keep up with the new rhythms. The tracking shot through the gala dinner, which uses a barely visible dissolve to close in on the profiles of the engineer and the Countess Andrée, is both very elegant and redolent of Lubitsch. Note: the maestro is played by Carl Goetz, who will be an extraordinary Schilgolch in Pabst’s Lulu.

Paola Cristalli, “Cinegrafie”, n. 20, 1994, updated by the author

Cast and Credits

Sog.: liberamente tratto dalla pièce Scampolo di Dario Niccodemi. Scen.: Augusto Genina. F.: Axel Graatkjaer, Vittore Armenise. Scgf.: Hans Sohnle, Otto Erdmann. Mus.: Hansheinrich Dransmann. Int.: Carmen Boni (Scampolo), Livio Pavanelli (Tito), Lya Christy (Franca), Hans Junkermann (Bertini), Carla Bartheel, Max Schreck, Carl Goetz (il maestro), Karl Platen. Prod.: Nero Film AG. 35mm. L.: 2119 m (incompleto, l. orig.: 2652 m). D.: 85’ a 22 f/s. Bn.