26 October 2012

Dina Galli

Dina Galli (1877 - 1951) was a legendary Italian comedienne who conquered the Italian stage with her flashing but gentle eyes and particular face. She also was successful in several Italian silent and sound films and became one of Federico Fellini's favorite actresses.

Dina Galli
Italian postcard by ENCV.

Flashing Blue Eyes
Dina Galli was born as Clotilde Annamaria Galli in Milan, Italy in 1877. She was a real figlia d'arte. Her mother was an actress and as a little girl Dina already played small parts for her mother's theatre companies. With her flashing blue eyes, her pointed face, her slender figure and her gentle irony, she soon conquered the Italian stage. In 1890, she joined the theatre company of Edoardo Ferravilla, the great actor of the Milanese dialect. There she showed a great talent for comedy and soon she played leading roles. A decade later she managed to enter the renowned Talli-Grammatica-Calabresi theatre company with the young Ruggero Ruggeri. For years she excelled in the frivolous and spicy comedies by Georges Feydeau, Maurice Hennequin, Pierre Veber et. al., such as La Dame de chez Maxim. La Dina became the darling of both the critics and the public. During the First World War, she obtained successes with La maestrina (The Teacher) and Scampolo, both by Dario Niccodemi. Galli took sidesteps into the silent cinema during the First World War and appeared in Veli di giovinezza/Veils of youth (1914), La monella/The brat (1914) and L'ammiraglia/The flagship (1915). All three films were directed by Nino Oxilia, who was killed during the war. In 1917 followed Le nozze di Vittoria/The wedding of Victoria (1917, Ugo Falena). After that, Galli focused on dramatic roles in stage plays, in particular the dialectical theatre by Giuseppe Adami. In these productions Galli talked in vernacular Milanese, as in Felicita Colombo (1935), the role that stuck to her.

Dina Galli caricature
Italian postcard. Caricature by Girus (Giuseppe Russo). It was exposed in 1914 at the first international exhibition of caricatures and humorism in Italy.

Armando Falconi
Armando Falconi. Italian postcard by Ballerini & Fratini, Firenze, no. 2557. Series Cines-Pittaluga.

One Of Fellini's Favorite Actresses
From the late 1930's on, Dina Galli regularly acted for the Italian sound cinema. The films Felicita Colombo (1937, Mario Mattoli) and Nonna Felicita/Grandmother Felicita (1938, Mario Mattoli) with Armando Falconi were both based on stage successes of Galli, and showed her comedy skills. Other films she played in were Nini Falpalà (1933, Amleto Palermi), Frenesia/Frenzy (1939, Mario Bonnard), La zia smemorata/The Forgetful Aunt (1941, Ladislao Vajda), Il sogno di tutti/The Dream of Everything (1941, Oreste Biancoli, Laszlo Kish), Stasera niente di nuovo/Nothing new tonight (1942, Mario Mattoli) with Carlo Ninchi and Alida Valli, I biricchino di papà/The fluffy Dad (1943, Raffaele Matarazzo), Tre ragazze cercano marito/Three Girls Looking for Husbands (1944, Duilio Coletti) with Carla del Poggio, Lo sbaglio di essere vivo/My Widow and I (1945, Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia) starring Vittorio De Sica and Isa Miranda, Vanità/Vanity (1946, Giorgio Pastina), and Sambo (1950, Paolo William Tamburalla) with Paolo Stoppa. Her last, uncredited, role was in I cadetti di Gascogna/The Cadets of Gascony (1950, Mario Mattoli) starring Walter Chiari. After the Second World War, Galli returned to the stage in 1945 with such comedies such as Noel Coward's Blythe Spirit by George Kaufman and Moss Hart, together with Rina Morelli, and Arsenic and Old Lace by Kesserling. She was one of Federico Fellini's favorite actresses. Her last performance was in the revue Quo vadis? (1950), with Enrico Viarisio. Dina Galli died in Rome in 1951. She was 73.

Segment of Luce Journal after the death and funeral of Dina Galli in 1951. Source: CinecittaLuce (YouTube).

Sources: Sipario.it (Italian),  Mymovies.it (Italian), Wikipedia (Italian) and IMDb.

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