13 January 2012

Eloisa Cianni

Eloisa Cianni (1932) was Miss Italia 1952 and Miss Europe 1953. In the following decade the beauty queen appeared in 15 Italian films, mostly as herself.

Eloisa Cianni
Italian postcard by Fotocelere, Torino. Offered by Davide Bedarida 'Lane per materassi stabilimento', Livorno. Signed in 1952.

Beauty Contest Craze

Eloisa (sometimes written as Eloisia) Cianni was born as Aloisa Stukin in Rome, Italy in 1932. She got her Polish surname from her stepfather, Stanislaus Stukin, who had married her mother Ida Furnace.

In the late 1940s and early 1950s beauty contests were the craze, and in 1952 Eloisa was elected Miss Italy in Merano. She then became Miss Europe in 1953 in Istanbul in Turkey.

One of the prizes was a secondary part in the Italian-French comedy-drama Villa Borghese/It Happened in the Park (Vittorio de Sica, Gianni Franciolini, 1953) starring Gérard Philipe. It was an anthology film about a day in the Villa Borghese park in Rome, consisting of five episodes. Eloisa appeared in the final episode, Beauty Contest.

IMDb reviewer Gerald A. Deluca (a.k.a. Italian Gerry) calls the episode ‘racy’: “Beauty Contest is a Felliniesque dissertation about two rival Roman street–prostitutes, who as they are about to be rounded up by the police, wind up at a Miss Cinema beauty contest taking place in the park. The younger of the women (Eloisa Cianni) eludes the police by going off with an older man in his car. The other and older one (Franca Valeri) is not so lucky and the episode and the film end as she is driven off in a police vehicle.”

Eloisa Cianni
Italian postcard by Casa Editrice Ballerini & Fratini, Firenze (B.F.F. Edit.), no. 3592. Photo: Warner Bros. Publicity still for Adorabili e bugiarde/Adorable and a Liar (Nunzio Malasomma, 1958).

I Loved A Diva

Eloisa Cianni’s film debut lead to more minor appearances in such Italian productions as the Peppino De Filippo comedy Peppino e la nobile dama/Peppino and the noble lady (Piero Ballerini, 1954), the Racconti romani/Roman Tales (Gianni Franciolini, 1955) with Franco Fabrizi and Totò, and the comedy-drama Il segno di Venere/The Sign of Venus (Dino Risi, 1955) starring Sophia Loren.

During the second part of the 1950s Eloisa Cianni continued to work in the cinema, but she usually played just herself.

These later films included Ho amato una diva/I loved a diva (Luigi De Marchi, 1957) and the comedy Amore a prima vista/Love at First Sight (Franco Rossi, 1958) starring Walter Chiari

In another comedy Adorabili e bugiarde/Adorable and a Liar (Nunzio Malasomma, 1958) she appeared with Isabelle Corey, and in Amore e guai/Love and trouble (Angelo Dorigo, 1958) with Marcello Mastroianni.

Finally, after a last role in the comedy Le magnifiche sette/The magnificent seven (Marino Girolami, 1961) she gave up her acting career.

At the time of her retirement, Eloisa Cianni was not yet thirty.

Ingeborg Schöner, Isabelle Corey and Eloisa Cianni in Adorabili e bugiarde (1958)
Small Romanian collectors card. Photo: Ingeborg Schöner, Isabelle Corey and Eloisa Cianni in Adorabili e bugiarde/Adorable and a Liar (Nunzio Malasomma, 1958).

Eloisa Cianni
Italian promotion card for Chlorodont. Collection: Marlene Pilaete.

Sources: Gerald A. Deluca (IMDb) Pavel ‘Argenson’ Vlach (CSFD - Czech), Wikipedia (Italian and English), and IMDb. This post was updated on 8 July 2019.

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