Pages

30 November 2016

La preda (1921)

La preda/The prey (Guglielmo Zorzi, 1921) was an Italian silent melodrama starring diva Maria Jacobini, Amleto Novelli and the young Carmen Boni.

Maria Jacobini in La preda (1921)
Italian postcard by G.B. Falci, Milano, no. 33. Photo: Fotominio. Maria Jacobini and Carmela Bonicatti (Carmen Boni) in La preda (1921).

Maria Jacobini in  La preda (1921)
Italian postcard by G.B. Falci, Milano, no. 34. Photo: Maria Jacobini, Carmela Bonicatti (Carmen Boni) and Maria Moreno in La preda (1921).

Maria Jacobini and Amleto Novelli in La preda (1921)
Italian postcard by G.B. Falci, Milano, no. 46. Photo: Fotominio. Publicity still for La preda (1921) with Maria Jacobini and Amleto Novelli.

She doesn't hesitate and kills him


In La preda/The prey (Guglielmo Zorzi, 1921), the explorer Cesare Colleoni (Amleto Novelli) returns to Italy after a long stay in Africa.

At his father's place he meets his three cousins Anna (Mara Cassano), Maria (Maria Jacobini) and Gioietta (Carmela Bonicatti aka Carmen Boni), whom he all courts at the same time.

He gets engaged with Anna, but right on the day before his wedding he tries to seduce Maria. She resists, though.

Afterwards, when Cesare has married Anna, Maria discovers he has managed her youngest sister Gioietta to hopefully fall in love with him and wanting to elope with him. She doesn't hesitate and kills him. The script of La Preda was written by Camille de Morlhon.

Maria Jacobini in La preda (1921)
Italian postcard by G.B. Falci, Milano, no. 51. Photo: Fotominio. Maria Jacobini and Amleto Novelli in La preda (1921).

Maria Jacobini in La preda (1921)
Italian postcard by G.B. Falci, Milano, no. 153. Photo: Maria Jacobini and Alfonso Cassini in La preda (1921).

The interior dilemma of the female protagonist


La preda/The prey (Guglielmo Zorzi, 1921) was produced by the Roman company Fert, and premiered in Rome on 10 January 1922.

The Naples journal La Cine-fono praised Maria Jacobini's acting but the critic thought the characters were not individualized enough and the script had better be used for a stage play, where the interior dilemma of the female protagonist would have been expressed better.

Instead, the Turin journal La vita cinematografica praised both director and actors - Maria Jacobini in the first place - and thought only the cinematography could have been better.

NB While film historian Vittorio Martinelli mentions Mara Cassano playing Anna, one postcard suggests this could have been Maria Moreno. And although both English Wikipedia and IMDb claim that La Preda is a French-Italian coproduction, the production company, Fert Film, was an Italian studio. Italian Wikipedia and Vittorio Martinelli write that it's an Italian production.

Maria Jacobini in La preda (1921)
Italian postcard by G.B. Falci, Milano, no. 154. Photo: Maria Jacobini and Carmela Bonicatti (Carmen Boni) in La preda (1921).

Amleto Novelli in La preda (1921)
Italian postcard by G.B. Falci, Milano, no. 191. Photo: Amleto Novelli and Maria Moreno in La preda (1921).

Maria Jacobini in La preda (1921)
Italian postcard by G.B. Falci, Milano, no. 315. Photo: Maria Jacobini in La preda (1921).

Sources: Vittorio Martinelli (Il cinema muto italiano: I film degli anni venti, 1921 - Italian), Wikipedia (English and Italian) and IMDb.

No comments: