18 May 2018

Unione Cinematografica Italiana

The Unione Cinematografica Italiana or UCI published postcards of stars and scenes of its Italian silent films of the early 1920s. In 1919, a fusion of most of the existing Italian film companies had been realised by the producers Barattolo and Fassini of Caesar Film and Cines in order to secure the Italians a better international position. The main pre-war companies like Ambrosio, Itala and Gloria had merged in UCI. The initiative to counter the Americans and Germans failed by lack of funding, production facilities and artistic renewal. The bankruptcy of the Banca di Sconto, UCI's main financial backer, in 1921 didn't help too. UCI was mainly a distribution company, not a production company. In 1926 it went bankrupt and its malfortune and final demise marginalised Italian silent film production.

Lucy Sangermano
Lucy di San Germano. Italian postcard by Unione Cinematografica Italiana / Ed. G. Vettori, Bologna, no. 13, 1058.

Francesca Bertini
Francesca Bertini. Italian postcard by Unione Cinematografica Italiana / La Rotofotografica, no. 44.

Ida Rubinstein in La nave
Italian postcard by Unione Cinematografica Italiana. Photo: publicity still for La nave/The Ship (Gabriellino D'Annunzio, Mario Roncoroni, 1921), starring the Russian dancer and actress Ida Rubinstein. La nave was based on the homonymous play by Gabriele D'Annunzio.

Il ponte dei sospiri (1921)
Italian postcard by Unione Cinematografica Italiana. Photo: publicity still for Il ponte dei sospiri/The Bridge of Sighs (Domenico Gaido, 1921). Caption: Juana, Scalabrino's adopted daughter, performs a sweet pilgrimage to the Madonna to protect Rolando. The four-part serial Il ponte dei sospiri, starring Luciano Albertini, Antonietta Calderari, Garaveo Onorato and Carolina White, was set in Venice. The actress pictured is Magda Chirotti, who played Juana.

Luciano Albertini in Il ponte dei sospiri (1921)
Italian postcard by Unione Cinematografica Italiana. Photo: publicity still for Il ponte dei sospiri (Domenico Gaido, 1921) with Luciano Albertini as Rolando. Caption: The young and very brave son of Doge Candiano, Rolando, is pushed into prison by halberds.

Il ponte dei sospiri (1921)
Italian postcard by Unione Cinematografica Italiana. Photo: publicity still for Il ponte dei sospiri (Domenico Gaido, 1921). Caption: Altieri stops Dandolo for a duel. Luigi Stinchi as Altieri, one of the conspirators, and Bonaventura Ibanez as Dandolo, Leonora's father.

Emilia Vidali in I promessi sposi (1922)
Italian postcard by Unione Cinematografica Italiana / G. Vettori, Bologna, no. 181. Photo: publicity still for I promessi sposi (Mario Bonnard, 1922). Emilia Vidali played the female lead of Lucia in Mario Bonnard's adaptation of Alessandro Manzoni's I promessi sposi/The Betrothed (1922), opposite Domenico Serra as Renzo and Mario Parpagnoli as don Rodrigo.

Emilia Vidali and Ida Carloni Talli in I promessi sposi
Italian postcard by Unione Cinematografica Italiana / G. Vettori, Bologna. Emilia Vidali (Lucia) and Ida Carloni Talli (Agnese) in I promessi sposi (Mario Bonnard 1922).

I promessi sposi (1922)
Italian postcard by Unione Cinematografica Italiana / G. Vettori, Bologna. Publicity still for I promessi sposi (Mario Bonnard, 1922). Renzo (Domenico Serra) at the lying and cheating lawyer Azzeccagarbugli. Caption: To the lawyer we need to set things straight, so that we can mess them up.

Quo vadis? (1924-25)
Italian postcard by Unione Cinematografica Italiana. Photo: publicity still for Quo Vadis? (Gabriellino D'Annunzio, Georg Jacoby, 1925). This German-Italian epic was one of the many adaptations of the classic novel by Henryk Sienkiewicz, and starring Emil Jannings as Nero, Elena Sangro as Poppea, Alphons Fryland as Vinicius and Lilian Hall-Davis as Licia. Here we see Nero menacing Licia, after having 'saved her from the clutches of Vinicius'.

Elena Sangro in Quo vadis
Italian postcard by Unione Cinematografica Italiana / Ed. A. Traldi, Milano, no. 663. Elena Sangro as the Empress Poppea in Quo vadis? (Gabriellino D'Annunzio, Georg Jacoby, 1925).

André Habay in Quo vadis
Italian postcard by Unione Cinematografica Italiana / Ed. A. Traldi, Milano, no. 667. Photo: André Habay as Petronius in Quo Vadis? (Gabriellino D'Annunzio, Georg Jacoby, 1925).
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