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29 November 2014

Il carnevale di Venezia (1928)

Today's film special is about the Italian silent melodrama Il carnevale di Venezia/The Carnival of Venice (Mario Almirante, 1928). Star is the diva Maria Jacobini. Her co-star is the British actor Malcolm Tod. The melodrama was a great success, but nationalists took the film out of circulation.

Maria Jacobini and Josyane in Il carnevale di Venezia
Italian postcard by Ed. G.B. Falci, Milano, no. 89. Photo: S.A. Stefano Pittaluga. Maria Jacobini and Josyane in the late silent film Il carnevale di Venezia (Mario Almirante, 1928).

Malcolm Tod in Il carnevale di Venezia
Italian postcard by Ed. G.B. Falci, Milano, no. 92. Photo: S.A. Stefano Pittaluga. Malcolm Tod in Il carnevale di Venezia (Mario Almirante, 1928).

Maria Jacobini and Malcolm Tod in Il carnevale di Venezia
Italian postcard by Ed. G.B. Falci, Milano, no. 95. Photo: S.A. Stefano Pittaluga. Maria Jacobini and Malcolm Tod in Il carnevale di Venezia (Mario Almirante, 1928).

Josyane in Il carnevale di Venezia
Italian postcard by Ed. G.B. Falci, Milano, no. 100. Photo: S.A. Stefano Pittaluga. Josyane in Il carnevale di Venezia (Mario Almirante, 1928).

Cheated by a ruthless, game addicted and vengeful lover


In Il carnevale di Venezia/The Carnival of Venice (Mario Almirante, 1928) a young American (Malcolm Tod) makes a generous gesture towards a Venetian nobleman, Duca Morosin (Bonaventura Ibanez). He not only saves him from ruin but also marries his granddaughter (Maria Jacobini). She has been cheated by a ruthless, game addicted and vengeful lover (Manlio Mannozzi).

Leading lady of the film was Maria Jacobini. Among the Italian divas, she was an 'island of serenity', as film historian Vittorio Martinelli expressed it. She was the personification of goodness, of simple love. Her weapon was her sweet and gracious smile.

The other stars were French actress Josyane who starred in French cinema of the 1920s and early 1930s, and British actor Malcolm Tod (1897-?) who was a star of British and European silent cinema of the 1920s.

The film was a success with Italian audiences when it was released in early February 1928 (partly because of the scarcely clad bathers at the Lido in the film). Despite this success, nationalist Italian critics didn't like the fact that the villain was Italian and the hero American.

So the film was taken from circulation and when Il carnevale di Venezia (1928) was re-released the roles were reversed. The American hero had become an Italian and the villain a foreigner with an English name.

Maria Jacobini and Malcolm Tod in Il carnevale di Venezia
Italian postcard by Ed. G.B. Falci, Milano, no. 102. Photo: S.A. Stefano Pittaluga. Maria Jacobini and Malcolm Tod in Il carnevale di Venezia (Mario Almirante, 1928).

Josyanne in Il carnevale di Venezia
Italian postcard by Ed. G.B. Falci, Milano, no. 103. Photo: S.A. Stefano Pittaluga. Josyane in Il carnevale di Venezia (Mario Almirante, 1928).

Maria Jacobini and Malcolm Tod in Il carnevale di Venezia
Italian postcard by Ed. G.B. Falci, Milano, no. 106. Photo: S.A. Stefano Pittaluga. Maria Jacobini and Malcolm Tod in Il carnevale di Venezia (Mario Almirante, 1928).

Maria Jacobini and Malcolm Tod in Il carnevale di Venezia
Italian postcard by Ed. G.B. Falci, Milano, no. 107. Photo: S.A. Stefano Pittaluga. Maria Jacobini and Malcolm Tod in Il carnevale di Venezia (Mario Almirante, 1928).

Sources: Vittorio Martinelli (Il cinema muto italiano: I film degli anni venti, 1921 - Italian) and IMDb.

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