Cinema Lumiere - Sala Scorsese > 16:30


Augusto Genina
Piano accompaniment by

Antonio Coppola


Saturday 01/07/2017


Original version with simultaneous translation through headphones


Film Notes

In 1919 Genina was not yet thirty years old but, with dozens of films under his belt, he could already be considered a set veteran. Always on the lookout for new stories, he was struck by the cinematic possibilities of Pirandello’s novella Lo scaldino and dashed to Rome to meet the author. The director remembers Pirandello as a quiet but affable man who “had the gift of listening and making his interlocutor believe that he was saying exquisite things”. The meeting marked the start of a friendship and the film was made.

The simple story follows an inescapable chain of events typical of melodrama: seduction-motherhood-abandonment. As an addendum there is a sad vendetta shown from an innovative point of view: that of a tired and elderly newsagent waiting on a cold street corner to sell a few copies of the day’s news to the customers of a variety show.

In order to translate the few pages of the story into a film of over an hour’s duration, the screenplay multiplies the locations and extends the role of the wicked couple, played in this instance by Franz Sala and Ria Bruna. And it is precisely the spot-on casting that proves to be one of the film’s strongest suits. The critics celebrated a sensitive Kally Sambucini who, removed from the Apache taverns to which she was confined by her roles for her partner in life and on the screen, Emilio Ghione, ably avoids pathetic excess in a difficult role.

Obtaining the censor’s approval involved a complex game of back-and-forth, which lasted for months and resulted in the removal of several intertitles not consistent with ideas of parenthood in fashion at the time. “Are you sure that I am the father?” was a question that simply could not be posed on the big screen, even in bad faith.

Stella Dagna

Cast and Credits

Sog.: dalla novella omonima di Luigi Pirandello. Scen.: Augusto Genina. F.: Ubaldo Arata. Int.: Kally Sambucini (Rosalba Vignas), Franz Sala (Cesare), Alfonso Cassini (Papa Re), Ria Bruna (Mignon), Leone Paci, Léonie Laporte. Prod.: Itala Film, UCI. DCP. D.: 70’. Bn.