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12 October 2016

Come le foglie (1917)

Italian diva Maria Jacobini was the star of the silent comedy-drama Come le foglie/Like the Leaves (Gennaro Righelli, 1917). The film was based on a stage play by Giuseppe Giacosa, which was performed for the first time at the Teatro Manzoni in Milan in 1900 by the company Tina Di Lorenzo. The cast of the film version also included Alberto Collo, Ignazio Luppi, Ida Carloni Talli, Diana d'Amore, Floriana and Guido Guiducci.

Come le foglie
Italian postcard. Photo: Tiber Film, Roma. Publicity still for Come le foglie/Like the Leaves (Gennaro Righelli, 1917). Caption: I immediately hastened to finish her dress. The lady fitting dresses is the idle spendthrift Giulia (Floriana), second wife of Giovanni and stepmother of Nenele and Tommy.

Come le foglie
Italian postcard. Photo: Tiber Film, Roma. Publicity still for Come le foglie/Like the Leaves (Gennaro Righelli, 1917). Caption: To assist the workers who break through a mountain covered with ice!... The man in white is Alberto Collo as the good-for-nothing Tommy, who considers a new job at the railway construction offered to him by Massimo as below his class. So he rather sticks to gambling at lady Orloff's, eventually forced to marry her.

Come le foglie (1917)
Italian postcard. Photo: Tiber Film, Roma. Alberto Collo as Tommy in Come le foglie/Like the Leaves (Gennaro Righelli, 1917). Translation caption: In the house of Ms. Orlof.

Come le foglie (1917)
Italian postcard. Photo: Tiber Film, Roma. Guido Guiducci (Massimo), Maria Jacobini as Nennele and Alberto Collo as her brother Tommy in Come le foglie/Like the Leaves (Gennaro Righelli, 1917). Translation caption: I won't allow you to speak about my brother in this way.

A life of spendthrifts


Maria Jacobini (1892-1944) could play it all: the island of serenity, the vivacious lady, the femme fatale, the comedienne, the hysterical victim, and the suffering mother or wife. In Come le foglie/Like the Leaves (Gennaro Righelli, 1917), she plays a daughter, Nennele Rosati.

After a life of spendthrifts, the Rosati family is ruined, mainly because of the stepmother Giulia (Floriana). They move to Switzerland. Father Giovanni (Ignazio Lupi) accepts work from his cousin Massimo (Guido Guiducci).

Hitherto neglected as too serious and workaholic, Massimo becomes the head of the family and takes care of the son and daughter of Giovanni, Tommy (Alberto Collo) and Nennele (Jacobini), and their stepmother Giulia.

Tommy and Giulia remain weak spirits. Tommy is too arrogant and lazy to become manager at a quarry, a job Massimo has arranged. He continues his gambling life at Ms. Orloff, an ill-reputed woman. Because of his debts he is forced to marry her.

Giulia becomes an amateur painter, even if unsuccessfully. She steals a golden frame from a painting of the Rosani's. Nennele explodes when she finds out. After an attempted suicide, Nennele realizes Massimo's force and unites with him. Her father benedicts their union.

Little is known about Italian actor Guido Guiducci, who plays Massimo. Though he made a handful of films before, his career really set off after Come le foglie. Guiducci was often paired with female stars Ileana Leonidoff, Hesperia and Mary Bayma-Riva. Guiducci's last film was Occhi luccenti (1923), a film he directed himself as well.

Come le foglie
Italian postcard. Photo: Tiber Film, Roma. Publicity still for Come le foglie/Like the Leaves (Gennaro Righelli, 1917). Left Maria Jacobini. Translation caption : The portrait slipped from the package and fell to the ground.

Maria Jacobini and Alberto Collo in Come le foglie (1917)
Italian postcard. Photo: Tiber Film, Roma. Publicity still for Come le foglie/Like the Leaves (Gennaro Righelli, 1917). Maria Jacobini (Nennele) and Alberto Collo (Tommy). Translation caption: Nennele: You don't know what you're saying! Farewell, Tommy, farewell, poor Tommy!

Maria Jacobini and Ignazio Lupi in Come le foglie
Italian postcard. Photo: Tiber Film, Roma. Publicity still of Maria Jacobini and Ignazio Lupi in the Italian silent film Come le foglie/Like the leaves (Gennaro Righelli, 1917). The caption translates: Giovanni: And tomorrow I would have been out in the world, shouting like a madman, searching for my little daugher.

Come le foglie (1917)
Italian postcard. Photo: Tiber Film, Roma. Maria Jacobini (Nennele) and Ignazio Lupi (her father Giovanni) in Come le foglie/Like the Leaves (Gennaro Righelli, 1917). Translation caption: Nennele: He is here! He has approached in the shadow of the hedge... to hear us.

Come le foglie
Italian postcard. Photo: Tiber Film. Publicity still for Come le foglie/Like the Leaves (Gennaro Righelli, 1917). Father Giovanni (Ignazio Lupi) unites his daughter Nennele (Maria Jacobini) with his cousin Massimo (Guido Guiducci). Translation caption: Nennele: Shall I call him? Massimo!

Sources: Vittorio Martinelli (Il Cinema Muto Italiano: 1917), Wikipedia (Italian) and IMDb.

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