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Mangano, Silvana

MANGANO, Silvana

Nationality: Italian. Born: Rome, 21 April 1930. Education: Studied as a dancer. Family: Married the producer Dino De Laurentiis, 1949, daughters: Veronica Raffaella and Francesca, son: Federico. Career: Worked as a model; 1946—won Miss Rome beauty contest; 1947—film debut in L'elisir d'amore; 1949—international attention with film Bitter Rice; a number of leading roles followed; 1960s-70s—roles in series of films by both Pasolini and Visconti. Awards: Italian Nastro d'argento Awards for Best Actress, 1954–55 and 1963, and for Best Supporting Actress, 1971–72; Italian Grolle d'oro Awards for Best Actress, 1962–63 and 1966–67. Died: In Madrid, 16 December 1989.

Films as Actress:


L'elisir d'amore (Costa); Il delitto di Giovanni Episcopo (Flesh Will Surrender) (Lattuada)


Gli uomini sono nemici (Carrefour de passion) (Giannini); Riso amaro (Bitter Rice) (De Santis)


Cagliostro (Black Magic) (Ratoff)


Il lupo della Sila (The Lure of the Sila) (Coletti); Brigante Musolino (Fugitive in 6B) (Camerini)


Anna (Lattuada)


Mambo (Rossen); Ulisse (Ulysses) (Camerini) (as Penelope and Circe)


"Teresa" ep. of L'oro di Napoli (The Gold of Naples; Every Day's a Holiday) (De Sica)


Uomini e lupi (De Santis)


La Diga sul Pacifico (The Sea Wall; Angry Age) (Clément)


La tempesta (Tempest) (Lattuada) (as Nasha); La grande guerra (The Great War) (Monicelli) (as Constantina)


Jovanda e le altre (Five Branded Women) (Ritt); Crimen ( . . . And Suddenly It's Murder!; Killing in Monte Carlo) (Camerini) (as Marina Strucchi)


Il guidizio universale (The Last Judgment) (De Sica); Barabba (Barabbas) (Fleischer) (as Rachel); Una vita difficile (Risi)


Il processo a Verona (The Verona Trial) (Lizzani)


La mia signora (two eps.) (Bolognini and Comencini)


Il Disco Volante (The Flying Saucer) (Brass)


Io, io, io . . . e gli altri (I, I, I . . . and the Others) (Blasetti)


Scusi, lei e favorevole o contrario (Excuse Me . . . ) (Sordi); Edipo Re (Oedipus Rex) (Pasolini) (as Jocasta); La streghe (The Witches) (Visconti, Bolognini, Pasolini, Rossi, and De Sica) (different roles in each ep.)


"La Bambinala" ep. of Capriccio all'italiana (Monicelli); Viaggio de lavoro (Zac); Teorema (Theorum) (Pasolini) (as the mother)


Medea (Pasolini)


Morte a Venezia (Death in Venice) (Visconti) (as Tadzio's mother); Scipione detto anche l'Africano (Magni); Il Decamerone (The Decameron) (Pasolini); Ludwig (Visconti)


Lo scopone scientifico (Comencini); D'amore si muore (Carunchio)


Gruppo di famiglia in un interno (Conversation Piece) (Visconti)


Dune (Lynch)


Oci ciorinia (Dark Eyes) (Mikhalkov) (as Elisa)


On MANGANO: articles—

Apon, A., "Silvana Mangano," in Skrien (Amsterdam), January 1972.

Ciné Revue (Paris), 7 February 1985.

Obituary, in Cinéma (Paris), January 1990.

Obituary, in Positif (Paris), March 1990.

Teunissen, José, "Een tableau in beweging," in Skrien (Amsterdam), February-March 1991.

Legrand, G., "Silvana Mangano: Il teorema della bellezza: Par Giovanni Cimino et Stefano Masi," in Positif (Paris), July/August 1995.

* * *

Silvana Mangano was trained as a dancer and worked as a model before winning the Miss Rome beauty contest in 1946 which brought her into the movies. In her first starring role, as a migrant farm worker in Bitter Rice, caught between social awareness and jealousy born of a passionate love affair, she was instantly thrust into the international limelight. American critics called her the Italian Rita Hayworth, with an extra 20 pounds; she was the first of the postwar stars to represent the full-figured, fiery Italian beauty.

Her fame brought her offers from Hollywood and Alexander Korda but she turned them down in favor of marriage to Dino De Laurentiis who produced most of her films. Unlike several of her counterparts, Mangano quickly moved beyond the stereotype of an earthy sex symbol, and developed her skills as a dramatic actress. Her role in The Gold of Naples as the prostitute trapped in a marriage of honor to a rich uncaring man was critically acclaimed. Another role as a prostitute, in The Great War, revealed an ability at satirical comedy, while Crimean displayed her as a sophisticate.

She accepted few film offers and chose her roles carefully, usually preferring to collaborate with directors whose work she admired. Pasolini used her as Jocasta in Oedipus Rex, in The Decameron, and as an upper-middle-class mother whose life is profoundly changed by the visit of a young man to her home in Theorem. Pasolini said that she was practically contemptuous of her great beauty and that she worked hard at constantly improving her dramatic capabilities. She often worked with Luchino Visconti, and in fact played in four of his last six films. She reportedly accepted the role of Tadzio's mother in Death in Venice for no salary; her portrayal of the impeccably groomed aristocratic woman relied entirely on mime for its effect. At the opposite extreme was her role as a vulgar and pushy nouveau-riche mother in Conversation Piece. She played both the grand sophisticate of the past and the reptilian modern mother with equal conviction.

—Elaine Mancini

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