08 June 2019

Let's do a puzzle

Do you know the phenomenon 'mystery cards'? We have several mystery cards in our collection. Marlene Pilaete defines them as "cards uncorrectly captioned or cards without any name on them or cards on which I have doubts." Sometimes, it’s easy to recognise the actor or actress but, unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Happily we have our own Sherlock, Marlene, who solved some mysteries for us. But now she comes with a mystery of her own. Do you help solving it?

Lucy or Linda?

A few days ago, Marlene wrote us: "I have, since several years, two postcards showing the same Italian silent movie actress wearing the same dress on the two photos. I’ve made the scans for you. One is captioned Lucy San Germano and the other is captioned Linda Moglia. Those two sisters look alike a lot and I haven’t been able to decide so far who is on the postcards: Lucy or Linda? What do Ivo and you think about it?"

Lucy Di San Germano
Italian postcard by Unione Cinematografica Italiana, Roma, no. 164. Collection: Marlene Pilaete.

Linda Moglia
Italian postcard, no. 580. Collection: Marlene Pilaete.


What a great postcards! And we also love the dress that's definitively on both postcards.

About the second postcard: we think it must be Linda Moglia. We have a non-tinted postcard of the same picture and it's definitively Linda Moglia.

Moglia, born in 1896, peaked in the Italian silent cinema of the late 1910s and early 1920s. Her biggest role was that of Roxane in Cirano di Bergerac/Cyrano de Bergerac (Augusto Genina, 1923).

This is our postcard:

Linda Moglia
Italian postcard by Fotocelere, Torino, no. 80.

Linda Moglia
Italian postcard by Ed. A. Traldi, Milano, no. 558.


But is she also the actress on the other postcard? Who was Lucy di San Germano?

Little is known about her private life. She was born in Turin in 1898.

From 1918 on, Sangermano worked for the Ambrosio studio in Turin. Later she worked for studios like Audax and Cines, and Sangermano’s last film was at the Turinese company Fert: L’inafferabile (Mario Almirante 1922), with Alberto Collo.

This is how she looked like:

Lucy di San Germano
Italian postcard, no. 378. Photo: Fontana.

Lucy Sangermano
Italian postcard by Ed. G. Vettori, Bologna, no. 13, 1058. Photo: UCI (Unione Cinematografica Italiana).

So, Lucy San Germano looks familiar to Linda Moglia, and yes, like Marlene suggests, they were real sisters: Lucy was Linda's younger sister. Di San Germano was Lucy's stage name, her real name was Lucy Moglia.

The two sisters acted together in one film, Noblesse oblige (1918), based on a boulevard comedy by Maurice Hennequin and Pierre Veber.

The film was apparently directed by the famous poster designer and illustrator Marcello Dudovich, whose only film direction this was.

Noblesse oblige (1918) was an Ambrosio production, so our guess was that Lucy borrowed her sister's dress from this production.

But, what do you think?

Lillian or Renée?

Renée Adorée in La Bohème (1926)
Italian postcard by Casa Editrice Ballerini & Fratini, Firenze. Photo: Metro Goldwyn (MGM), Roma, no. 287. Publicity still for La Bohème (King Vidor, 1926).

Although the postcard credits Lillian Gish, it's actually co-star Renée Adorée who is portrayed.

Thanks to Marlene Pilaete, for mentioning this to us some time ago, and for sending us the puzzle of the dress.

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