21 November 2013

Marisa Merlini

Italian character actress Marisa Merlini (1923–2008) was active in Italy's post-World War II cinema. She is best known for Pane, Amore e Fantasia/Bread, Love and Dreams (Luigi Comencini, 1953) in which she married Vittorio De Sica. From World War II to 2005, Merlini appeared in over 160 films and TV productions.

Marisa Merlini
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 1483, 1961. Retail price: 0,20 DM.

Born-and-bred Roman

Marisa Merlini was born in Rome in 1923. She was well known for playing the ‘romana verace’ (born-and-bred Roman) characters.

In 1942, she played a small role in the drama Stasera niente di nuovo/Tonight nothing is new (Mario Mattoli, 1942) starring Alida Valli.

After the war, Merlini played with Vittorio De Sica in Roma, città libera (La notte porta consiglio)/Rome Free City (Marcello Pagliero, 1946).

She also appeared in seven Totò comedies. The first, Totò cerca casa/Totò Looks for an Apartment (Mario Monicelli, Steno, 1949) is stylistically related to Italian neorealism, though it can be seen as a parody.

Her best known role is Annarella, a village midwife and unwed mother who marries the middle-aged marshal of carabiniers (Vittorio De Sica) in a mountain village in the romantic comedy Pane, Amore e Fantasia/Bread, Love and Dreams (Luigi Comencini, 1953). At the 4th Berlin International Film Festival, the film won the Silver Bear award. The film's popularity resulted in two sequels, but Merlini returned only in the second part of the trilogy, Pane, amore e gelosia/Bread, Love and Jealousy (Luigi Comencini, 1954), also with Gina Lollobrigida.

Gina Lollobrigida
Gina Lollobrigida. French postcard by E.D.U.G., no. 55.

Commedia All'Italiana

Marisa Merlini's awards included the 1957 Nastro d'Argento (Silver Ribbon) award for portraying a tourist in Tempo di Villeggiatura/Time of Vacation (Antonio Racioppi, 1956) with Vittorio De Sica and Giovanna Ralli.

She reunited with De Sica for Padri e figli/Fathers and Sons (Mario Monicelli, 1957) and Il medico e lo stregone/The Doctor and the Healer (Mario Monicelli, 1957), both also with Marcello Mastroianni.

In the comedy Il Vigile/The Traffic Policeman (Luigi Zampa, 1960), she co-starred as the girlfriend of Alberto Sordi.

She played the wife of Ugo Tognazzi in a segment of the anthology film I mostri/The Monsters (Dino Risi, 1963) and had a supporting part in the Spaghetti Western Il grande silenzio/The Great Silence (Sergio Corbucci, 1968) starring Jean-Louis Trintignant and Klaus Kinski. Merlini also appeared in a number of films opposite her real life friend, Anna Magnani.

Later films included the Commedia all'italiana Dramma della gelosia (tutti i particolari in cronaca)/The Pizza Triangle (Ettore Scola, 1970) with Marcello Mastroianni, Monica Vitti and Giancarlo Giannini, the comedy-drama Oh, Serafina! (Alberto Lattuada, 1976) with Dalila Di Lazzaro, and the comedy La mazzetta/The Payoff (Sergio Corbucci, 1978) with Nino Manfredi.

During the 1980s and 1990s she often worked for Italian TV. Her last screen appearance came in La Seconda Notte di Nozze/The Second Wedding Night (Pupi Avati, 2005).

In 2008, Marisa Merlini died at home in Rome. She was 83.

Director Pupi Avati paid tribute to Merlini saying, "Marisa brought to the set the experience of somebody who had taken part in the golden years of Italian cinema, but she was down-to-earth both in front of and behind the camera...Working with her was an honour and a fantastic experience."

Marisa Merlini
East-German postcard by VEB Progess Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 1373. Photo: Star Foto Atelier. Marisa Merlini in the film Il medico e lo stregone/Doctor and the Healer (Mario Monicelli, 1957).

Sources: Wikipedia and IMDb.


História da Pintura said...

Well done... Keep on the good working. Its always a pleasure read your blog.


Paul van Yperen said...

Thank you!