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07 September 2017

Triboulet (1923)

Triboulet (1923) is an Italian period piece directed by actor Febo Mari for the Società Italiana Cines and the UCI. Achille Vitti played King Francis I of France, Umberto Zanuccoli played the title role, the historical jester of kings Louis XII and Francis I of France, and Elena Sangro played Giletta. G.B. Falci in Milano was the publisher of this series of black and white postcards for the film.

Elena Sangro in Triboulet
Elena Sangro. Italian postcard by G.B. Falci, Milano. Photo: Cines/UCI. Publicity still for Triboulet (Febo Mari, 1923)

Triboulet
Italian postcard by G.B. Falci, Milano. Photo: Cines/UCI. Publicity still for Triboulet (Febo Mari, 1923), 3th and 4th episode.

Triboulet
Italian postcard by G.B. Falci, Milano. Photo: Cines/UCI. Publicity still for Triboulet (Febo Mari, 1923), 3th and 4th episode.

Triboulet
Italian postcard by G.B. Falci, Milano. Photo: Cines/UCI. Publicity still for Triboulet (Febo Mari, 1923), 3th and 4th episode.

Delirium of Love


Triboulet (1923) by Febo Mari was originally released as a six part serial, then reduced to a three-part serial, and finally just one single feature film of 2.500 metres. The six episodes were titled: 1) The King's Buffoon, 2) The King of the Misers, 3) The Mysteries of the Louvre, 4) The Cour des Miracles, 5) The Revenge of the Nameless, and 6) Delirium of Love.

The film was based on the novel of the same title (prob. 1910) by Michele Zevaco. Triboulet (1479–1536) was a historical figure, a jester of kings Louis XII and Francis I of France. He appears in Book 3 of François Rabelais' Pantagrueline chronicles. He also appears in Victor Hugo's Le Roi s'amuse and its opera version, Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto, a blend of 'Triboulet' and French rigoler (to laugh), intended to deflect the censorship that Hugo's work had received.

After the defeat of Pavia, king Francesco (or Francis I) (Achille Vitti) dedicates himself to peace, though not disdaining from his notorious love life. At the age of 50 he is tired of Mme de Ferron ('la belle Ferronière'), and gets interested in young Gillette (Elena Sangro).

Gilette is an orphan raised by Triboulet (Umberto Zanuccoli), the king's buffoon, but in reality he is a nobleman called Ferrial. Gillette loves Manfred (Giovanni Schettini), the king of the Cour des Miracles (the Paris slums). Manfred saves Gillette from the clutches of Francis. Francis is in reality Gilette's father by a former mistress, Margentina (Tina Ceccaci Renaldi), now a mad and visionary woman.

Hurt in one of his actions, Manfred is saved and cured by an Italian couple, who travel with their servant Spadacappa. While in bed, immobilised, Gillette is abducted and locked up in a convent. Barely healed, Manfred descends the Louvre to free her. The palace takes fire and the king is lucky to escape save and sound. Other adventures follow, in which Manfred discovers the Italian couple are his parents, who have come to France to find him.

Triboulet
Italian postcard by G.B. Falci, Milano. Photo: Cines/UCI. Publicity still for Triboulet (Febo Mari, 1923).

Triboulet
Italian postcard by G.B. Falci, Milano. Photo: Cines/UCI. Publicity still for Triboulet (Febo Mari, 1923).

Triboulet
Italian postcard by G.B. Falci, Milano. Photo: Cines/UCI. Publicity still for Triboulet (Febo Mari, 1923), 5th and 6th episode.

Sources: Vittorio Martinelli (Il cinema muto italiano, 1923-1931 - Italian), Wikipedia and IMDb.

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