Magnani, Anna

   Actress. The most celebrated actress of the Italian cinema in the immediate postwar period, Magnani was born illegitimately and grew up in one of the poorer quarters of Rome in the care of her maternal grandmother. An early interest in music — she studied piano at the Academy of Santa Cecilia—gave way to a stronger passion for the theater and she enrolled in the Eleanor Duse Acting School in Rome in 1927. Even before graduating she began working in the theater company of Dario Niccodemi and toured South America with the company in 1928. By 1930 she was becoming well known for her appearances in revues and musical theater. While continuing to work extensively on the stage she began to play small roles in films, her first appearance being in Nunzio Malasomma's La cieca di Sorrento (The Blind Woman of Sorrento, 1934). She subsequently played Fanny, the chanteuse, in Goffredo Alessandrini's Cavalleria (Cavalry, 1936), a role that she repeated with slight variation in Vittorio De Sica's Teresa Venerdi (Mademoiselle Friday, 1940). Forced to abandon the part of Giovanna in Luchino Visconti's Ossessione (Obsession, 1943) due to an advanced state of pregnancy, she then went on to play Elide in Mario Bonnard's Campo de'Fiori (Peddler and the Lady, 1943), the first of many incarnations of the forceful, down-to-earth Roman working-class woman that would characterize her acting repertoire from then on. Indeed it was as a variation on this role, playing Pina, the Roman housewife and mother mercilessly gunned down by German fire in Roberto Rossellini's Roma citta aperta (Rome Open City, 1945, also known as Open City), that she would score the greatest triumph of her entire career, earning a first Nastro d'argento for her moving interpretation and being catapulted to international fame by the film's worldwide success.
   She subsequently appeared in a wide variety of films that ranged from dramas such as Carmine Gallone's Davanti a lui tremava tutta Roma (Before Him All Rome Trembled, 1946) and Alberto Lattuada's Il bandito (The Bandit, 1946) to more lighthearted comedies such as Gennaro Righelli's Abbassa la ricchezza (Peddlin' in Society, 1947). Her splendid performance in Luigi Zampa's L'Onorevole Angelina (Angelina, MP, 1947), again playing a Roman housewife and mother forced by circumstances to become a political agitator, earned her a second Nastro d'argento and the Volpi Cup at the Venice Festival. She then played the lead in Mario Mattoli's remake of Assunta Spina (Scarred, 1947), a role that had originally been played by silent diva Francesca Bertini in 1915, before Rossellini devotedly showcased the range of Magnani's dramatic abilities in the two episodes of L'amore (Ways of Love, 1948).
   After a number of other films in Italy, including her very convincing and moving performance as the self-deluded mother in Visconti's Bellissima (1951) and as the stage actress Camilla in Jean Renoir's La carrozza d'oro (The Golden Coach, 1952), she was enticed to America to star opposite Burt Lancaster in a screen adaptation of Tennessee Williams's The Rose Tattoo (1955), a performance that brought her the further recognition of an Academy Award. Her reputation as an international star now established and her participation much in demand, she appeared in several other American productions, including George Cukor's Wild Is the Wind (1958), where she starred opposite Anthony Quinn and Anthony Franciosa, and Sydnet Lumet's The Fugitive Kind (1960), where she was paired with Marlon Brando. However, both films were relative flops and she returned to Italy where, after appearing with Toto in Mario Monicelli's bittersweet comedy Risate di gioia (Joyful Laughter, 1960), she came to play the other role for which she is most remembered, the exprostitute and tragic mother in Pier Paolo Pasolini's Mamma Roma (1962).
   From this high point, Magnani's film career rapidly declined. After an unimpressive performance in Claude Autant-Lara's lackluster La magot de Josefa (Josefa's Loot, 1964), done as part of a deal between producers, she was lured back to the stage and shone in an adaptation of Giovanni Verga's La lupa (She Wolf, 1965) and in a production in Italian of Jean Anouilh's Medea (1966), both directed by Franco Zeffirelli. Enticed once more back to the big screen, she gave a frothy performance as the wife of the drunken vintner played by Anthony Quinn in Stanley Kramer's The Secret of Santa Vittoria (1969) and then made four modest films for television directed by Alfredo Giannetti. Rather appropriately, her final appearance in film was a cameo role where she played herself closing the door of her house and wishing Federico Fellini good night in the concluding sequence of Fellini's Roma (Fellini Roma, 1972).
   Historical Dictionary of Italian Cinema by Alberto Mira

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Magnani, Anna — born March 7, 1908, Rome, Italy died Sept. 26, 1973, Rome Italian film actress. An illegitimate child brought up in poverty, she became a nightclub singer noted for her bawdy street songs. After acting in a touring company, she made her film… …   Universalium

  • Magnani, Anna — • МАНЬЯ НИ (Magnani) Анна (7.3.1908 26.9.1973)    итал. актриса. Училась в школе декламации академии Санта Чечилия в Риме. В сер. 20 х гг. работала в труппе В. Чимары. В 1934 снялась в кино (ф. Слепая из Сорренто ), но дебют прошел незамеченным.… …   Кино: Энциклопедический словарь

  • Magnani, Anna — (1908 1973)    Actress. The most celebrated actress of the Italian cinema in the immediate postwar period, Magnani was born illegitimately and grew up in one of the poorer quarters of Rome in the care of her maternal grandmother. An early… …   Historical dictionary of Italian cinema

  • Magnani, Anna — ► (1908 73) Actriz cinematográfica italiana. Películas: Noble gesta (1947) y La rosa tatuada (Oscar en 1955), entre otras. * * * (7 mar. 1908, Roma, Italia–26 sep. 1973, Roma). Actriz de cine italiana. Fue una hija ilegítima que se crió en la… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Magnani — Magnani, Anna …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Anna Magnani — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Anna Magnani Nacimiento 7 de marzo de 1908 …   Wikipedia Español

  • Anna Magnani — Born 7 March 1908(1908 03 07) Rome, Italy Died 26 September 1973(1973 09 26) …   Wikipedia

  • Magnani — (Anna) (1908 1973) actrice italienne révélée par Rome ville ouverte (1945) …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Anna Magnani — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Magnani. Anna Magnani Données clés Naissance 7 mars 1908 Rome, Italie Nationalité …   Wikipédia en Français

  • anna — /ah neuh/, n. 1. a former cupronickel coin of Pakistan, the 16th part of a rupee: last issued in 1960. 2. a former cupronickel coin of India, the 16th part of a rupee. [1720 30; < Hindi ana] * * * (as used in expressions) Akhmatova Anna Anna… …   Universalium

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