13 February 2012

Silvana Jachino

Italian stage and film actress Silvana Jachino (1916-2004) was successful and popular in the 1930s and 1940s.

Silvana Jachino
Italian postcard by Rizzoli, Milano, 1936.

Silvana Jachino
Italian postcard by B.F.F. Edit. (Casa Editr. Ballerini & Fratini, Firenze), no. 3815. Photo: E.N.I.C.

A Flop at the Venice Film Festival

Silvana Jachino was born 1916 in Milano, Italy as the daughter of composer Carlo Jachino.

After a happy youth, in which she was swung around because of the frequent tours of her father, she decided to start an artistic career.

According to Italian Wikipedia and to film historian Francesco Bono in his book Casta diva & co.: percorsi nel cinema italiano fra le due guerre, the blond and gracious Silvana debuted in the cinema in Fiordalisi d’oro/Lilies of gold (Giovacchino Forzano, 1935) starring Marie Bell.

Immediately after the shooting of this film, she was asked to substitute the Russian actress and dancer Irina Lucacevich, who had died in a car accident, halfway the production of the film Ballerine/ (1936) by Gustav Machatý. Jachino was not a ballet dancer, however, contrasting with the narrative about the parabola of a ballet dancer’s career and life.

The production was haunted by various problems, as Francesco Bono indicates. Machaty left the country before the editing was finished and the film flopped at the 1936 Venice film festival. It didn’t harm Jachino’s career too much, though.

Silvana Jachino
Italian postcard by ASER (A. Scaramaglia Edizioni Roma), no. 150. Photo: Ciolfi.

Silvana Jachino
Italian postcard by B.F.F. Edit. (Casa Editr. Ballerini & Fratini, Firenze), no. 2148 A. Photo: E.N.I.C.

Forgotten Star

During the 1930s and early 1940s, Silvana Jachino appeared in many roles, mainly in entertainment films. These were musicals or period pieces, which hardly crossed the Italian borders.

With her blond, cheerful appearance she was not destined for tragic roles, so she didn’t become a diva like other female stars of those years. However many women copied her hair style, make up and clothes.

Silvana was often paired with the big male stars of these years, such as Amedeo Nazzari in Cavalleria/Cavalry (Goffredo Alessandrini, 1936), Vittorio De Sica in Partire/Departure (Amleto Palermi, 1938), and Totò in San Giovanni decollato/St. John the Baptist Beheaded (Amleto Palermi, 1940).

In 1940, the Italian film magazine Cinema classified her no. 15 within the ranking of the most popular actresses. Sergio Tofano offered her a nice part in Cenerentola e il signor Bonaventura/Cinderella and Mr. Bonaventure (1941), next to Paolo Stoppa and Roberto Villa.

She impressed with Voglio vivere così/I Live as I Please (Mario Mattoli, 1942) with the great tenor Ferruccio Tagliavini, La zia di Carlo/Charley's Aunt (Alfredo Guarini, 1942) with Erminio Macario, and Lettere al sottotenente/Letters to the lieutenant (Goffredo Alessandrini, 1943 - but released late 1945) with Andrea Checchi.

When at the end of 1943 the war blocked the Italian film industry, Silvana stopped filming. At the end of the war she was already a forgotten star. In 1947, she returned to the screen and appeared in such epics as Fabiola (Alessandro Blasetti, 1949) starring Michèle Morgan, and Nerone e Messalina/Nero and the Burning of Rome (Primo Zeglio, 1953) featuring Gino Cervi.

Tastes had changed with the advent of Neorealism though, and Jachino’s career declined fast, reducing her roles to small parts as in L’angelo bianco (Raffaello Matarazzo, 1955) with Amedeo Nazzari and Yvonne Sanson, and in La finestra sul Luna Park/The Window to Luna Park (Luigi Comencini, 1957).

In the 1960s Jachino's career had a second life in various adventure films and Spaghetti Westerns under the name of Susan Terry. In 1965 Federico Fellini engaged her as the nymphomaniac sculptor Dolores in Giulietta degli spiriti/Juliet of the Spirits (1965), featuring Giulietta Masina.

When her husband Guido Cingoli died, Jachino retired to a home. Silvana Jachino died in 2004, at the clinic of Morciano di Romagna near Rimini, at the age of 88 years. Her body was interred at the Cemetery of Prima Porta in Rome.

Silvana Jachino
Italian postcard by B.F.F. Edit. (Casa Editr. Ballerini & Fratini, Firenze), no. 2391. Photo: Generalcine.

Trailer of Giulietta degli spiriti/Juliet of the Spirits (1965). Source: Danios 12345 (YouTube).

Sources: Francesco Bono (Casta Diva & Co), Philippe Pelletier (Les Gens du Cinema - French), Giulio Berruti (Corto in Corto - Italian), Wikipedia, and IMDb.

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