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Malombra: ‘Can a person have two or more earthly lives?’

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The novel Malombra (1881) by Antonio Fogazzaro was produced as a film in 1917, directed by Carmine Gallone with diva Lyda Borelli in the title role. Malombra was remade as a sound film in 1942, directed by Mario Soldati and starring Isa Miranda as Malombra. A symptomatic analysis of the novel, the silent film and its remake illuminates the cultural, political, economic and social transformations that transpired between the Italian silent and sound cinema and between different moments in the rise, consolidation and collapse of Fascism in Italy. The cinematic treatment of the two actresses is pivotal for understanding the character and quality of these changes. The differing treatments of Borelli and Miranda depend largely on a shift from the phenomenon of divismo to a familiar version of stardom that entails mechanical reproduction and modernity, involving femininity, the body, gesture and the expression of emotion.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2004

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