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23 March 2017

La grande passione (1922)

The silent Italian drama La grande passione (1922) was a star vehicle for diva Italia Almirante Manzini. The film was directed by her cousin Mario Almirante. He also wrote the script, based on a novel by writer-reporter Alessandro Varaldo. Cinematography was by Ubaldo Arata, and the sets were designed by Mario Gheduzzi. The film was produced by Produzione Fert (Rome-Turin). In 2001 a restored print of the Filmoteca de la UNAM (Mexico) was presented at Cinema Ritrovato festival in Bologna.

Italia Almirante in La grande passione
Italian postcard, no. 15. Photo: Società cinematografica FERT. Publicity still for La grande passione (Mario Almirante, 1922), starring Italia Almirante Manzini and here with Carlo Benetti. Caption: If you decide to accept we could take the 19:00 train. Think about this when you have calmed down.

Italia Almirante in La grande passione
Italian postcard, no. 16. Photo: Società cinematografica FERT. Publicity still for La grande passione (Mario Almirante, 1922). Caption: After the duel in American style.

Italia Almirante in La grande passione
Italian postcard, no. 17. Photo: Società cinematografica FERT. Publicity still for La grande passione (Mario Almirante, 1922), starring Italia Almirante Manzini and Carlo Benetti. Caption: Oh? Dignity?... Which one?

Italia Almirante in La grande passione
Italian postcard, no. 18. Photo: Società cinematografica FERT. Publicity still for La grande passione (Mario Almirante, 1922). Caption: My dear, I understand you and I love you.

Italia Almirante in La grande passione
Italian postcard, no. 19. Photo: Società cinematografica FERT. Publicity still for La grande passione (Mario Almirante, 1922). Caption: Patrizio Algesio and Gaspare Lucidi.

Not love but serenity


La grande passione (1922) tells the story of Maria (Italia Almirante Manzini), an orphan, who lives with her uncle (Vittorio Pieri). Her beauty raises the jealousy of her female cousins, who persecute her.

Maria is almost obliged to accept a marriage offer by a rich widower, Carli (Joaquin Carrasco). It is not love but serenity. Love appears as another man, Marcello (Carlo Benetti), cousin of Carli, starts to court Maria. A friend, Patrizio (André Habay), warns her in vain.

After being left by Marcello, Maria accepts the sincere and disinterested love of Patrizio. When Marcello returns and wants Maria back, a duel with Patrizio follows in which Marcello is killed. In the meantime Carli has been ruined by Marcello. It is then that Maria understands her plight to stay close to her husband, sacrificing her great love for Patrizio, while returning to Carli.

When La grande passione was released in Italy in early 1923 it was praised by the Italian trade press. Both La vita cinematografica and La rivista cinematografica lauded both Mario Almirante's direction and Italia Almirante's dramatic performance.

Italia Almirante in La grande passione
Italian postcard, no. 20. Photo: Società cinematografica FERT. Publicity still for La grande passione (Mario Almirante, 1922), starring Italia Almirante Manzini and André Habay. Caption: You are still decided to never leave me.

Italia Almirante in La grande passione
Italian postcard, no. 21. Photo: Società cinematografica FERT. Publicity still for La grande passione (Mario Almirante, 1922), starring Italia Almirante Manzini and André Habay. Caption: Caption: The past.

Italia Almirante in La grande passione
Italian postcard, no. 22. Photo: Società cinematografica FERT. Publicity still for La grande passione (Mario Almirante, 1922), starring Italia Almirante Manzini. Caption: Separation.

Italia Almirante in La grande passione
Italian postcard, no. 23. Photo: Società cinematografica FERT. Publicity still for La grande passione (Mario Almirante, 1922), starring Italia Almirante Manzini and André Habay. Caption: It's about to leave!

Italia Almirante in La grande passione
Italian postcard, no. 23. Photo: Società cinematografica FERT. Publicity still for La grande passione (Mario Almirante, 1922), starring Italia Almirante Manzini and André Habay. Caption: Joint life in their retreat.

Italia Almirante in La grande passione
Italian postcard, no. 24. Photo: Società cinematografica FERT. Publicity still for La grande passione (Mario Almirante, 1922), starring Italia Almirante Manzini and André Habay. Caption: A trip on Lake Como.

Italia Almirante in La grande passione (1922)
Italian postcard, no. 26. Photo: Società cinematografica FERT. Publicity still for La grande passione (Mario Almirante, 1922), starring Italia Almirante Manzini.

Italia Almirante in La grande passione (1922)
Italian postcard, no. 27. Photo: Società cinematografica FERT. Publicity still for La grande passione (Mario Almirante, 1922). Caption: The presentation of Ottavio. The name is puzzling as there is no character of that name in the film. Probably meant is Marcello. So Maria's husband Carli (Joaquin Carrasco) presents his nephew Marcello (Carlo Benetti) to Maria (Italia Almirante).

Italia Almirante in La grande passione
Italian postcard, no. 28. Photo: Società cinematografica FERT. Publicity still for La grande passione (Mario Almirante, 1922), starring Italia Almirante Manzini and André Habay. Caption: You want to to flee with me... forever?

Sources: Sempre in penombra (Italian), Wikipedia (Italian), and IMDb.

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