31 January 2012

Desdemona Mazza

Italian actress Desdemona Mazza (1901-?) appeared in Italian, French and German silent films. She worked with such directors as Louis Mercanton, Julien Duvivier and Marcel L’Herbier.

Desdemona Mazza
French postcard by J.R.P.R., no. 86. Photo: V. Henry.

Gypsy Passion

Desdemona Mazza was born in Castel San Pietro, Italy in 1901.

One of her first films was the Caesar Film production Tre milioni di dote/Three million gift (Camillo De Riso, 1920), which was released in two episodes. That same year she starred in La naufraga della vita/The shipwrecks of life (Eugenio Perego, 1920).

That year she also appeared in the French production L'appel du sang/The Call of the Blood (Louis Mercanton, 1921) with Gabriel de Gavrone. The film was shot in Rome, but this proved to be an entry to the French cinema for her.

Director Louis Mercanton gave her the lead role in Miarka, la fille à l'ourse/Gypsy Passion (Louis Mercanton, 1921) opposite the British matinee idol Ivor Novello. Gabrielle Réjane played the grandmother of gypsy Miarka (Desdemona Mazza). The film was shot on location in the Camargue region.

Janiss Garza at AllMovie: “This romantic melodrama, directed by Louis Mercanton, was not as technically advanced as American made films and had to be edited for U.S. consumption, but it had several strong points - it was filmed on location at a real French chateau, and its star, Madame Rejane, was a contemporary of Sarah Bernhardt, and one of the most famous European actresses of her generation. This picture, in fact, was Rejane's last screen appearance - she died shortly after completing her role.”

Desdemona Mazza in L'appel du sang (1921)
French postcard in the Les Vedettes du Cinéma series by Editions Filma, no. 39. Photo: Films Mercanton. Desdemona Mazza in L'appel du sang/The Call of the Blood (Louis Mercanton, 1921).

Illegitimate Child

Desdemona Mazza appeared in a small part in the popular serial Les mystères de Paris/Mysteries of Paris (Charles Burguet, 1922) with Huguette Duflos. It is based on the novel 'The Mysteries of Paris' by Eugène Sue. The serial ran in twelve installments.

After an interval, she starred in Julien Duvivier’s drama Coeurs farouches/Wild hearts (Julien Duvivier, 1924) with Gaston Jacquet, and the comedy drama Credo ou la tragédie de Lourdes/Creed or the tragedy of Lourdes (Julien Duvivier, 1924) with Henry Krauss.

Then she appeared in the German production Liebesbriefe der Baronin von S.../The Love letters of Baroness S... (Henrik Galeen, 1924) starring Mia May and Memo Benassi. The film's sets were designed by the art director Paul Leni. Location shooting took place around Rimini.

After another interval in her career, Desdemona Mazza played opposite Charles Vanel in Martyre/Martyrdom (Charles Burguet, 1927).

It was followed by small parts in Madame Récamier/Mrs. Récamier (Tony Lekain, Gaston Ravel, 1928) starring Marie Bell, the romantic comedy Vénus (Louis Mercanton, 1929) starring Constance Talmadge, and a leading role in La petite soeur des pauvres/Sister of Mercy (George Pallu, 1929) opposite Georges Melchior.

In 1930 she made her first sound film, L'enfant de l'amour/Illegitimate Child (Marcel L’Herbier, 1930) starring Emmy Lynn and Jaque Catelain. Her role was only a bit part.

The next year she played a supporting part in Olive passager clandestine/Olive stowaway (Maurice de Canonge, 1931) with Maurice de Canonge and Marcel Dalio. It was to be the last film of Desdemona Mazza.

We could not find more online information about her.

Desdemona Mazza
French postcard by Cinémagazine-Edition, Paris, no. 489. Sent by mail in 1928. Photo: Henry.

Source: Janiss Garza (AllMovie), Wikipedia and IMDb.

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