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25 October 2014

La seconda moglie (1922)

Today a special post on the Italian silent film La seconda moglie/The second wife (Amleto Palermi, 1922), based on the melodrama The Second Mrs. Tanqueray. Star is the fascinating and enigmatic Pina Menichelli, the most bizarre Italian diva of the silent era. Her leading man is Livio Pavanelli.

Alfredo Martinelli in La seconda moglie
Italian postcard. Photo: Rinascimento Film, Roma. Caption: "Sir George starts to doubt the stability of the Primrose Restaurant." Postcard for the Italian silent film La seconda moglie (Amleto Palermi, 1922) with Alfredo Martinelli.

Orietta Claudi in La seconda moglie
Italian postcard. Photo: Rinascimento Film, Roma. Caption: "The idea of becoming nun gives a shiver to Eliana's soul." Postcard for the Italian silent film La seconda moglie (Amleto Palermi, 1922) with Orietta Claudi.

Pina Menichelli
Italian postcard by G.B. Falci, Milano. Photo: Fotominio 78. Postcard with Orietta Claudi and Pina Menichelli in La seconda moglie (Amleto Palermi, 1922).

A mundane beauty


Lord Aubrey Tanqueray (Livio Pavanelli) loses his wife, a woman of rigid habits who had managed to perfectly organize his life up to his station, but she has left him sentimentally unsatisfied. Left alone, Tanqueray sends his daughter to a religious college and leads a grey and recluse life.

Years go by. The man gets tired of his solitude and starts to frequent the London society. He meets Paula (Pina Menichelli), a mundane beauty, falls in love with her and marries her.

Though the woman has decided to abandon her once so liberal life and shows she's eager to convert, she doesn't manage to bond with Eliana (Orietta Claudi), now a girl in full blossom, who despises of the intruder.

In an attempt to solve the situation, Tanqueray decides to send the girl to Paris. Here Elina meets captain Ardale (Alfredo Menichelli), falls in love with him, and returned, home, presents him as her fiancé. But Paula recognizes in Ardale one of her ex-lovers. She confesses to Eliana her guilt in deterring the girl to unite her life with an adventurer and makes an end to her life by a gun shot.

The play from which the film was adapted, The Second Mrs. Tanqueray by Arthur Wing Pinero, had already been the vehicle for stage actresses such as Eleonora Duse, Virigina Reiter and Italia Vitaliani, and afterwards Maria Melato and Emma Grammatica.

Though the film, released in 1923, was received with mixed reviews, it was one of Pina Menichelli's most popular films, both in Italy and abroad.

Pina Menichelli, Livio Pavanelli in La seconda moglie
Italian postcard by G.B. Falci, Milano. Photo: Fotominio 78. Postcard with Pina Menichelli in La seconda moglie (Amleto Palermi, 1922).

Pina Menichelli in La seconda moglie
Italian postcard. Photo: Rinascimento Film, Roma. Caption: "That monotonous and grey life awoke in the rebel a whole lost world." Postcard for the Italian silent film La seconda moglie (Amleto Palermi, 1922) with Pina Menichelli.

Pina Menichelli and Livio Pavanelli in La seconda moglie
Italian postcard by G.B. Falci, Milano. Postcard for the Italian silent film La seconda moglie (Amleto Palermi, 1922) with Pina Menichelli and Livio Pavanelli.

Orietta Claudi


Orietta Claudi (?-?), who played Eliana,  had a relatively short career in Italian silent cinema of the early 1920s. She mostly played the young family girl opposite the mundane divas such as Pina Menichelli, Italia Almirante Manzini and Maria Jacobini.

She probably debuted in L'Innamorata (Gennaro Righelli, 1920), starring Almirante Manzini. Claudi's character had her real first name Orietta (or was Orietta not the real name of Claudi?).

After Stelle (Riccardo Cassano, 1920) and Il supplizio del silenzio (Eugenio Perego, 1920), Claudi acted opposite Maria Jacobini and Amleto Novelli in La casa di vetro (Gennaro Righelli, 1920).

In the very successful drama Amore rosso (Gennaro Righelli, 1921), Claudi played the rival of Jacobini in winning the love of Lido Manetti.

After Il cielo (André Habay, 1921) starring director Habay as a pilot who risks getting blind and Claudi as his British fiancée, she acted as the hostile daughter Eliana opposite Pina Menichelli and Livio Pavanelli in La seconda moglie (Amleto Palermi, 1922).

Claudi's last parts were in Il sogno d'amore (Gennaro Righelli, 1922) with Almirante Manzini, and La gerla di papà Martin (Mario Bonnard, 1923) with Gianna Terribili Gonzales.

Pina Menichelli and Orietta Claudi in La seconda moglie
Italian postcard. Caption: "Paola: No! Forgive me... We will really be good friends..." Postcard for the Italian silent film La seconda moglie (Amleto Palermi, 1922) with Pina Menichelli and Orietta Claudi.

Pina Menichelli, Livio Pavanelli and Orietta Claudi in La seconda moglie
Italian postcard. Photo: Rinascimento Film, Roma. Caption: "Eliana: Oh, had I only been nicer to her!" Postcard for the Italian silent film La seconda moglie/The second wife (Amleto Palermi, 1922) with Pina Menichelli, Livio Pavanelli and Orietta Claudi.

Sources: Vittorio Martinelli (Italian - Il cinema muto italiano, 1921-1922) and IMDb.

1 comment:

Bunched Undies said...

Thank you for this post. It's good to learn more about the silent era. I hope in the future this important history will not be lost.