Serena, Gustavo

(1881-1970)
   Actor and director. A Roman marquis with a passion for the stage, Serena approached the silver screen with an extensive theatrical background. Beginning in 1911 with appearances in a number of films for the Film D'Arte Italiana, which specialized in theatrical adaptations, he acted and directed for a number of production houses (Cines, Cinegraph, Pasquali) before joining the Roman Caesar Film in 1915. Here, for the next three years, he acted in and directed many of his best films, frequently in collaboration with diva Francesca Bertini, whom he first directed in the highly acclaimed Assunta Spina (1915). He worked sporadically through the crisis years of the early 1920s, producing, directing, and acting in Laperla nera (The Black Pearl, 1922) and Coscienza (Conscience, 1923) and appeared in, among others, The White Sister, a Metro production starring Lillian Gish and Ronald Coleman, filmed in Italy in 1923. In 1927 he assembled a small theatrical company that experimented with staging plays by utilizing a film sequence to set the theatrical scene. In the sound years he directed Zaganella e il cavaliere (Zaganella and the Honorable Gentleman, 1932), the adaptation of a play by Luigi Capuana, and played one of the leading roles in Naufraghi (Shipwrecked, 1939). In the postwar years he continued to play small supporting roles in a number of unremarkable films, his last appearance being a walk-on part in Don Camillo Monsignore ma non troppo (Don Camillo, Monsignor, 1961), directed by fellow veteran of the Italian silent era Carmine Gallone.
   Historical Dictionary of Italian Cinema by Alberto Mira

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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