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24 May 2015

L'aigrette (1917)

L'aigrette/The egret (1917) is a silent Italian film by Baldassare Negroni. The film, produced by Tiber Film in Rome, was an adaptation by Negroni of a stage play by Dario Niccodemi. Stars were Hesperia, Tullio Carminati and André Habay.

Tullio Carminati and Ida Carloni Talli in L'aigrette
Italian postcard by IPA CT Duplex, no. 5103. Caption: La Dama dell'aigrette. (The lady of the egret) Photo: Tiber Film, Roma. Tullio Carminati and Ida Carloni Talli in the Italian silent film L'aigrette (Baldassarre Negroni, 1917).

Hesperia in L'aigrette
Italian postcard by IPA CT Duplex, no. 5105. Photo: Tiber Film, Roma. Caption: Il turpe mercato della contessa di Saint-Servant (The vile market of the Countess of Saint -Servant). Hesperia (at right) and Ida Carloni Talli in L'aigrette (Baldassarre Negroni, 1917).

Cherishing Honour and Virtue


The countess of Saint-Servant (Ida Carloni Talli) has raised her son Enrico (Tullio Carminati) to be proud of his name and title, and to cherish honour and virtue, symbolised by the feather of her aigrette (egret). In reality the countess is hunted by creditors, the castle is falling apart.

Enrico falls in love with Susanne Leblanc (Hesperia), wife of a banker, and in return she loads him with money in order to restore the family castle. Her husband Claudio (André Habay) is not so happy with this kind of charity...

L'aigrette was written as a comedy in three acts in 1912 and had been the first play by Dario Niccodemi. His comedies represent the bourgeois drama in an ironic and sentimental way, in which his characters are modelled on the society of the beginning of the century.

Niccodemi wrote several plays and screenplays. Films based on his work include L'ombra (Mario Caserini, 1917) with Vittoria Lepanto, La nemica/The enemy (Ivo Ulliminati, 1917) and Scampolo, filmed in 1917 with Margot Pellegrinetti, in 1928 with Carmen Boni, in 1932 with Dolly Haas, in 1941 with Lilia Silvi, and in 1958 with Romy Schneider.

Hesperia and André Habay in L'aigrette
Italian postcard by IPA CT Duplex, no. 5107. Caption: La famiglia Leblanc nei gorni felici (The Leblanc family in happier days). Photo: Tiber Film, Roma. André Habay and Hesperia in the Italian silent film L'aigrette (Baldassarre Negroni, 1917).

Hesperia, Carminati and Habay in L'aigrette
Italian postcard by IPA CT Duplex, no. 5108. Caption: Claudio, Enrico e Susanna. Tragico colloquio (Claudio, Enrico and Susanna. Tragic conversation). Photo: Tiber Film. Hesperia, Tullio Carminati and André Habay in the Italian silent film L'aigrette (Baldassarre Negroni, 1917).

A Wonderful Cast


L'aigrette had a wonderful cast with stars of the silent Italian cinema, like Tullio Carminati, André Habay, Diomira Jacobini (not pictured on one of the postcards), Ida Carloni Talli and of course in the leading role Hesperia.

Tullio Carminati (1895-1971) was an Italian stage and film actor with a long standing career from the 1910s to the 1960s. He played in Italian, German, American, British and French films as well as on Italian, American and British stages.

Italian actor André Habay (1883-1941) aka Andrea Habay (also written as Habaj or Kabaj) acted in modern dramas and diva films such as Sangue blu/Blue Blood (Nino Oxilia, 1914) and Rapsodia satanica/Satan's Rhapsody (Nino Oxilia, 1917). Later, he also starred as Petronius in the epic Quo vadis? (Gabriellino D'Annunzio, Georg Jacoby, 1925).

Ida Carloni Talli (1860-1940) was an important Italian stage actress, who also acted in 92 Italian silent films.

Hesperia (1885-1959), was one of the greatest divas of the Italian silent screen. She often worked with director Baldassarre Negroni, who later became her husband.

Tullio Carminati and Ida Carloni Talli in L'aigrette
French postcard. Caption: Le pardon. (The pardon). Photo: Tullio Carminati and Ida Carloni-Talli in the Italian silent film L'aigrette (Baldassarre Negroni, 1917).

Sources: Wikipedia (Italian) and IMDb.

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