Since 1942, Italian actress Giovanna Ralli (1935) appeared in more than 80 films and TV series and during her career she worked with some of the greatest directors of the Italian cinema such as Vittorio de Sica, Federico Fellini, Roberto Rossellini and Ettore Scola. Twice she won the prestigious Nastri d'Argento award, including one for her supporting role in Scola’s classic comedy C'eravamo tanto amati (1974).
Czech postcard by Nakladatelstvi Orbis, Praha (Prague), no. F 03-03659. Retail price: 0,70 Kcs. Photo: Wilém Rosegnal.
Giovanna Ralli was born in Rome, Italy in 1935. She is the sister of actress Patrizia Lari. Ralli began her screen career at age seven with bit roles in films like La maestrina/The school teacher (1942, Giorgio Bianchi) starring María Denis, and Vittorio de Sica’s I bambini ci guardano/The Children Are Watching Us (1942). Still very young she played many small parts in such films as the comedy Signori, in carrozza/Rome-Paris-Rome (1951, Luigi Zampa) and La famiglia Passaguai/The Passaguai Family (1951, Aldo Fabrizi) as Aldo Fabrizi’s daughter. Her most interesting film from this period was Federico Fellini’s directorial debutLuci del varietà/Variety Lights (1950), co-directed by Alberto Lattuada. As she matured into a fresh beauty, she began to play tough, spontaneous young women. In the 1950’s she stood out in films like Anni facile/Easy Years (1953, Luigi Zampa), the anthology Amore in Città/Love in the City (1953, Alberto Lattuada a.o.), Villa Borghese/It Happened in the Park (1953, Vittorio de Sica, Gianni Franciolini), Racconti romani/Roman Tales (1955, Gianni Franciolini), Le ragazze di San Frediano/Girls of San Frediano (1954, Valerio Zurlini) with Rossana Podestà, Un eroe dei nostri tempi/A hero of our time (1955, Mario Monicelli) starring Alberto Sordi, and Il bigamo/The bigamist (1956, Luciano Emmer) featuring Marcello Mastroianni.
German postcard by VEB Progress-Filmvertrieb, Berlin.
Good Dramatic Performer
Eventually Giovanna Ralli graduated to playing leads in Italian and international films. She proved to be a good dramatic performer in three films directed by the legendary Roberto Rossellini, the war dramas Il generale della Rovere/General della Rovere (1959) featuring Vittorio de Sica, and Era notte a Roma/It was night in Rome (1960) with Renato Salvatori, and the historical drama Viva l'Italia!/Garibaldi (1961). For her role in the lesbian romance La fuga/The Escape (1964, Paolo Spinola) she won a Nastro d'Argento (the Silver Ribbon) as Best Actress. She also played strong roles in the comedies La vita agra/Sour Life (1964, Carlo Lizzani) opposite Ugo Tognazzi, and Se permettete parliamo di donne/Let's Talk About Women (1964, Ettore Scola) starring Vittorio Gassman. Her international productions include the war comedy What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? (1966, Blake Edwards) with James Coburn, and the crime drama Deadfall (1968, Bryan Forbes) with Michael Caine. Ralli starred in a few westerns: Le Goût de la violence/Taste of Violence (1961, Robert Hossein), Il Mercenario/A Professional Gun (1968, Sergio Corbucci) with Franco Nero, and the American production Cannon for Cordoba (1969, Paul Wendkos) starring George Peppard.
Italian postcard by Bromofoto, Milano (Milan), no. 1484. Photo: Cineriz.
During the 1970’s Giovanna Ralli returned in some successful comedies, including Ettore Scola’s C'eravamo tanto amati/We All Loved Each Other So Much (1974). Once again she played Aldo Fabrizi’s daughter in the film, for which role she won her second Nastro d'Argento, now as Best Supporting Actress. Another hit was Di che segno sei?/What's your sign? (1975, Sergio Corbucci). She also appeared in another popular genre, the giallo La polizia chiede aiuto/The Coed Murders (1974, Massimo Dallamano) opposite Mario Adorf. In 1977 she married Ettore Boschi. From the 1980’s on, she appeared mainly on stage and in TV productions, like the Rai series Un prete tra noi/A priest among us (1997, Giorgio Capitani, Lodovico Gasparini) and Ho sposato uno sbirro/I Married A Cop (2008) in which she played the mother of Flavio Insinna. Her later films include Verso sera/In the evening (1991, Francesca Archibugi) with Marcello Mastroianni, and Il pranzo della domenica/ Sunday lunch (2003, Carlo Vanzina) with Massimo Ghini, for which she was again nominated for another Nastro d'Argento as Best Supporting Actress. (She did not win this time.) In 1993 she obtained the Flaiano Award for Lifetime Achievement for her theatrical and cinematic merits. In 2008 she also received the Premio Chioma di Berenice, another award for her whole career. Recently she appeared in the comedy Immaturi/The Immature (2011, Paolo Genovese).
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 3194, 1968. Retail price: 0,20 MDN. Photo: Progress.
Sources: Sandra Brennon (Rovi), Wikipedia and IMDb.